Reigning Champion, USA Olympians Return to Boston for this Sunday’s B.A.A. Half Marathon

Defending champion Daniel Salel and B.A.A. 10K winner Joan Chelimo lead strong international field for 17th annual B.A.A. Half Marathon. Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein and Abdi Abdirahman front American charge.

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association announced today the elite field for the 17th annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. Headlining the men’s field is two-time reigning B.A.A. Half Marathon champion Daniel Salel, joined by a pair of USA Olympians in Dathan Ritzenhein and Abdi Abdirahman. In a rematch of June’s B.A.A. 10K, women’s winner Joan Chelimo will be challenged by B.A.A. 5K champion Buze Diriba on the roads of Boston. The B.A.A. Half Marathon will be run on Sunday, October 8, 2017, beginning and finishing in Boston’s Franklin Park.

A native of Kenya, Salel won last year’s B.A.A. Half Marathon in 1:03:13, persevering through torrential downpours and tough conditions. Salel also won the 2015 edition in 1:00:56, and has a personal best of 1:00:41 from the 2013 B.A.A. Half Marathon. A veteran on the roads of Boston, he’s never finished outside the top two at the B.A.A. Half Marathon.

Joining Salel at the head of the field will be Dathan Ritzenhein and Abdi Abdirahman, two of America’s most decorated distance runners. Ritzenhein, an IAAF World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist from 2009, has a personal best of 1:00:00 and won the USA 25K Championships this year. In June, he placed fourth at the B.A.A. 10K. Abdirahman won the Masters Division title at April’s Boston Marathon, finishing sixth overall.

Another familiar face in the field will be Suguru Osako of Japan. Making his marathon debut in Boston this year, Osako placed third in 2:10:28. He boasts a half marathon best of 1:01:13. American Tyler Pennel is also in the field, as are Kenya’s Jameson Kabuku and Ethiopia’s Markos Geneti.

Fresh off a 1:06:25 runner-up finish at the Copenhagen Half Marathon on September 17, Kenya’s Joan Chelimo will bring a dose of speed to the B.A.A. Half Marathon. She could very well challenge the course record of 1:08:20 if conditions are right. In June, Chelimo ran 31:24 to win the B.A.A. 10K by eleven seconds.

Buze Diriba, the 2017 B.A.A. 5K winner and world leader at 5K this year, has had a season to remember on the American road racing scene, including five wins at races from 5K through 10 miles. She was third at the B.A.A. 10K in June.

Diane Nukuri, a three-time Olympian for Burundi, also returns after placing second last year. Making her B.A.A. Half Marathon debut will be Biruktayit Eshetu of Ethiopia, who has won her last five half marathons dating back to November of 2016. Her best stands at 1:10:12.

The B.A.A. will be well represented on course, led by Katie Matthews, Katie Kellner, Eric Ashe, and Guillaume Adam. Matthews placed fourth at the USA 25K Championships in May, while Ashe was fourth place –and the top American—at the 2015 B.A.A. Half Marathon.

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 2016, a total of 6,198 athletes participated in the B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. This year’s field has 9,000 participants.

MEN’S ELITE FIELD (as of October 1, 2017)

Daniel Salel KEN 1:00:41
Dathan Ritzenhein USA (MI) 1:00:00
Abdi Abdirahman USA (AZ) 1:00:29
Jameson Kabuku KEN 1:01:49
Suguru Osako JPN (OR) 1:01:13
Tyler Pennel USA (NC) 1:01:44
Ken Yokote JPN 1:01:37
Shogo Nakamura JPN 1:01:53
Markos Geneti ETH 1:02:01
Tesfalem Gebrearegawi ETH 1:02:11
Yudai Okamoto JPN 1:02:48
John Crain USA (NC) 1:03:21
Eric Ashe USA (MA) 1:03:33
Henry Lelei USA (TX) 1:05:47
Guillaume Adam FRA (MA) 1:05:47

WOMEN’S ELITE FIELD (as of October 1, 2017)

Joan Chelimo KEN 1:06:25
Buze Diriba ETH 1:11:49
Diane Nukuri  BDI (AZ) 1:09:12
Biruktayit Eshetu ETH 1:10:12
Elvin Kibet KEN (CO) 1:11:37
Lindsey Scherf USA (NY) 1:11:45
Katie Matthews USA (MA) 1:11:57
Katie Kellner USA (MA) 1:14:41
Nicole Dimercurio USA (NC) 1:14:37
Whitney Thornburg USA (MA) 1:16:29
Nicole Aish USA (CO) 1:12:30



1st: $10,000
2nd: $6,000
3rd: $4,000
4th: $2,500
5th: $1,200
6th: $1,000
7th: $600
8th: $500
9th: $300
10th: $200



Win three of the four events: $50,000
Win two of the four events: $20,000
Place among the top two in three of the four events: $10,000
Place among the top three in three of the four events: $5,000

* Includes the Boston Marathon.


B.A.A. 5K: $5,000
B.A.A. 10K: $7,500