This is Justin Lagat’s feature on the 2023 BAA Boston Half Marathon, at which Justin won the Men’s Masters Division. 

In one of the biggest and most organized half marathon races in the US, Abel Kipchumba showed why he was, in the recent past, the world’s fourth-ranked road runner when he broke away from the rest of the elite field only 5 kilometers into the 2023 BAA Half Marathon race.

The chilly race day conditions almost gave him another disappointing race, but he was determined to redeem himself from past disappointments.

“I wanted this win so much after battling with injury and failing to impress in my past performances for a while now,” Kipchumba said. For the record, this was the first half-marathon race he had run slower than one hour, but given the conditions, it was still a big win for him.

Abel Kipchumba won the B.A.A. Half Marathon, photo by Kevin Morris

Kipchumba won the race in 1:01:32. Australia’s Patrick Tiernan was second in 1:01:56, while Ethiopia’s Yemane Haileselassie was third in 1:02:17.

 “I thought it was just going to be chilly at the start line and would get warm as the race progressed, but I had to persevere through the chilly conditions throughout the race,” Kipchumba, who ran the race without an extra layer of clothing wished he had run in them. “I felt freezing even after the race.”

The win was a great motivation for him as he ended the season. It has come for him at the right time as he now goes back to Iten, Kenya, to prepare well for what he hopes will be a great 2024 season for him.

“Next year, I would like to focus on a few half marathon races and majorly in one fast marathon race. I already saw a potential to run a quicker personal best time in my past marathon race, where I ran 2:06:49 despite getting injured in the last stages of the race and seeing several runners run past me until I eventually finished fifth, in a race I was projecting to finish in early 2:05,” he reminisced on his 2022 Berlin Marathon experience.

The women’s race that had assembled an intense elite field that saw the defending champion finish 9th was won by Ethiopia’s Fotyen Tesfay in 1:08:46 ahead of her compatriots, Senbere Teferi who ran 1:09:00 and Tsigie Gebreselama who ran 1:09:06. It was a tactical race that started at a relatively slower pace with a huge leading pack going together through the first fifteen kilometers before another race for the top spots began.