BOSTON, MA: BAA reports – The Boston Athletic Association today announced the elite field for the 18th annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. Headlining the men’s field is three-time reigning B.A.A. Half Marathon champion Daniel Salel, who will toe the line against 2018 B.A.A. 10K winner Gabriel Geay. On the women’s side, defending champion Joan Chelimo looks to make it two in a row as she takes on Boston Marathon champions Buzunesh Deba and Caroline Rotich, as well as B.A.A. Half Marathon course record holder Mamitu Daska. The B.A.A. Half Marathon will be run this Sunday, October 7 at 8:00 a.m., beginning and finishing in Boston’s Franklin Park.

A native of Kenya, Salel broke the tape at last year’s B.A.A. Half Marathon in 1:04:31 to become the race’s first three-time champion. Salel won the 2016 edition in 1:03:13 and 2015 race in 1:00:56, adding to his personal best of 1:00:41 from the 2013 B.A.A. Half Marathon. Salel has never finished outside the top two at the B.A.A. Half Marathon, and is coming off a fourth place finish at this year’s B.A.A. 10K in June.

Joining Salel will be Geay, the winner of this year’s B.A.A. 10K on June 24. Geay timed 28:24 (a personal best) at the B.A.A. 10K, adding a Boston victory to his resume which includes signature road race wins in Atlanta, Boulder, and Spokane. He will be making his B.A.A. Half Marathon debut.

From Kenya is Geoffrey Koech, a half marathon ace boasting a 59:50 lifetime best, and two-time B.A.A. 10K champion Daniel Chebii. Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay, the 2015 IAAF World Championships silver medalist in the marathon, returns to Boston with a strong record, having placed second and third at the 2015 and 2016 Boston Marathons, respectively.

Among the top Americans are Brian Shrader, the 2014 U.S.A. national champion at 12K, and Ben Bruce, who has represented the U.S.A. at the IAAF World Half Marathon championships twice.

Kenya’s Joan Chelimo brings a dose of speed to the B.A.A. Half Marathon, having a lifetime best of 1:05:04 for 13.1-miles. Last year, Chelimo led wire-to-wire and had hopes of breaking the course record before humid conditions set in. She finished in 1:10:31, nearly a minute ahead of second place.

Buzunesh Deba, the 2014 Boston Marathon champion and course record holder returns, along with 2015 Boston Marathon winner Caroline Rotich. Rotich is one of only three athletes to have won both the B.A.A. Half Marathon (2010) and the Boston Marathon.
While both Deba and Rotich have had success in Boston over 26.2-miles, Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska has the fastest resume when covering half the distance: Daska owns the B.A.A. Half Marathon course record, a time of 1:08:20 set in 2014. Two-time Olympian Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel of Bahrain is also entered, along with B.A.A. 5K podium finisher Monicah Ngige.

In the wheelchair division, Tony Nogueira of New Jersey will go for his 12th victory. Last year he finished in 58:02.

Since first being run in 2001, the B.A.A. Half Marathon has seen winners from eight different countries. The winner of the B.A.A. Half Marathon will earn $10,000, plus an additional $10,000 if the winner’s time is under the event records of 1:00:34 for men and 1:08:20 for women. In 2017, a total of 6,331 finishers completed the B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. This year’s field has 9,000 participants.