This is Race Result Weekly’s column on the 2024 B.A.A. 5k, which happened today, on Saturday, April 13, 2024. Nine thousand citizen runners joined the elite field for the BAA 5k, an excellent fitness test for elite athletes and citizen runners running around the Back Bay of Boston. 

The BAA 5K, with the BAA Mile and BAA Youth events, make Saturday, April 13, Boston Weekend, a wonderful day celebrating our sport! Well done, adidas and the Boston Marathon! 

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2024 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission. 

BOSTON (13-Apr) — Cooper Teare and Fotyen Tesfay won the 14th annual Boston 5-K presented Point32Health on the streets of Back Bay here this morning to kick off Boston Marathon weekend. Teare, the reigning USA cross country champion who represents Nike, used the leg speed that made him a 3:50 miler to win in a sprint finish in 13:38. Tesfay, an Ethiopian who won the B.A.A. Half-Marathon here last November, bolted away from the field right from the start to win in a course record 14:45. Both athletes won $7,500 in prize money. Still, Tesfay earned an additional $5,000 bonus for setting a new course record.

The men’s race set up perfectly for Teare. He allowed Kenya’s Alex Masai of Hoka Northern Arizona Elite to control the pace through the first mile (4:35) and stayed tucked in a lead pack of about a dozen contenders.

“I got through the first mile, and I was like, this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done,” Teare told Race Results Weekly. “By the time I hit two miles, I was like, am I going to finish?”

That’s because the second mile went down in 4:28, again with Masai on the front. But in the third mile, the pace softened a bit, and Teare and the other contenders, like Drew Hunter (adidas/Tinman Elite) and Ben Flanagan (On Running/Very Nice Track Club), got a chance to catch their breath and get ready for the final sprint.

“The last K was really about staying in contact,” Teare continued. Lalo got about ten meters on us, which was a bit scary.”

“Lalo” is Mexico’s Eduardo Herrera (Under Armour), who was the first to show his cards and surge to the front. Teare was confident in his kick and didn’t want to waste any energy too soon, so he methodically worked his way up.

“I tried to just go through the gears one at a time,” Teare explained. We got into the final chute, and I took the lead coming off that turn and drove it home.”

Boston 5-K champions Cooper Teare and Fotyen Tesfay (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly), used with permission.

Teare faced competition from Hunter and Herrera but could hold them off. Hunter took the runner-up spot just one second behind Teare in 13:39, and Herrera was less than a step behind Hunter and was given the same time in third place. Flanagan, a Canadian who finished second last year, got fourth in 13:43.

“It’s amazing,” said Teare when asked what it meant to win a big race like this early in the season. He continued, ” I’m just happy to be here.”

Hunter, the 2021 USATF 5-K road running champion, was pleased with his runner-up finish. He said he planned to focus on longer distances this year (he ran 27:38.87 for 10,000m last month).

“It was kind of like Lalo made a move, and Cooper and I covered it,” Hunter said. Then, we hit that 200-to-go mark, and it was just gauging how hard to sprint. Cooper gapped me, and the gap stayed the same in the last 200 meters. I was happy with it.”

Tesfay, who represents adidas, ran an entirely different kind of race. She bolted from the start, clipping through the first mile in a brisk 4:43 and the second in 4:47. She had Kenya’s Emmaculate Achol (Nike) for the company through the first mile but had a five-second lead by the second. From there, she simply ran against the clock, or more accurately, her watch.

“I came to break the course record,” Tesfay said through an interpreter. “I did, and I’m so happy.”  She added: “I always run by the watch. Even though I trained very well back home in Ethiopia, I always compare my time with the course (record).”

Fotyen Tesfay winning the 2024 Boston 5-K (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly), used with permission.

The previous record was set by another Ethiopian, Senbere Teferi, who ran 14:49 in 2022. Teferi is running Monday’s marathon here, an event that Tesfay says she would like to do some day. If Tesfay were ever to win the Boston Marathon, she would become the only athlete to win the Boston 5-K, B.A.A. Half-Marathon, and the Boston Marathon.

“I’m staying with middle distance and long distance (for now),” she said. “In the future, I will definitely run Boston.”

Achol was a clear second in 14:59, followed by another Kenyan, Esther Gitahi, who took third in 15:08. Gitahi just edged locally-based Annie Rodenfels of the Boston Athletic Association, a steeplechaser who is an excellent road racer, who was given the same time.

Dakota Lindwurm (Puma/Minnesota Distance Elite), who took third at February’s USA Olympic Team Trials Marathon, finished 15th. She used today’s race to break up her training for the Olympic Marathon and work on her speed.

“My legs are on fire,” she told Race Results Weekly moments after finishing.

The wheelchair titles went to Switzerland’s Marcel Hug in 10:18 and Britain’s Eden Rainbow Cooper in 12:04. Hug also won the race last year.

Over 9,000 runners finished today’s race in nearly ideal conditions, with cool temperatures and clear skies. However, it was a bit windy, typical for Boston in the spring.