Senbere Teferi runs course record 14:49 to win BAA 5K as Johnny Gregorek kicks off Mile Win

By Jonathan Gault
April 16, 2022

BOSTON – A dominant performance by the Ethiopian Olympian Senbéré Teferi was the culmination of a busy morning of racing in the Back Bay on Saturday. Teferi was hoping to beat her women-only road world record of 14:29 at the BAA 5K with the finish at Boston Common, and although 18mph winds ensured she wouldn’t challenge that time, she still beat the course record, with a time of 14:49 to take a second Molly snuggle upmark of 2015. Weini Kelati of Under Armor was second and top American in 15:04.

canadian Charles Philibert-Thiboutot (13:35) pushed back a hard close Geordie Beamish and Zouhair Talbi (both 13:36) to win the men’s race and break the Canadian record (Willy Finck ran 13:37 to finish as top American in 4th).

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A few blocks from Boylston Street, a few runners with local ties prevailed in the BAA Mile as a native of Massachusetts and a resident of Boston. Johnny Gregorek won the men’s title in 4:08.16 and Annie Rodenfelsa member of the BAA High Performance Team, won the women’s race in 4:35.51.

Both mile winners used a big kick to get their wins. Gregorek held off for second place Kasey Knevelbaard (4:08.88) and US indoor 1000m record holder Shane Strich (4:09.28) and Rodenfels beat the U.S. Indoor Champion’s breakaway duo Heather McLean (redouble from his DMR world record last night) and Taryn Rawlings on the last of the three laps. It took Rodenfels the final strides to catch Rawlings, but she got there just in time, winning by 0.08 of a second.

Results and post-race interviews below.

Top 15 5km men

Top 15 Women’s 5k

mile men

  1 Johnny Gregorek              USA                    4:08.16  
  2 Kasey Knevelbaard            USA                    4:08.88  
  3 Shane Streich                USA                    4:09.28  
  4 Kevin Kelly                  Ireland                4:09.33  
  5 Mason Ferlic                 USA                    4:09.85  
  6 Colin Abert                  USA                    4:10.35  
  7 Corey Bellemore              Canada                 4:12.19  
  8 Joey Berriatua               USA                    4:13.09  
  9 Brahim Kaazouzi              MOR                    4:13.39  
 10 Colin Schultz                USA                    4:14.80  
 11 James Randon                 USA                    4:21.06

women’s mile

  1 Annie Rodenfels              USA                    4:35.51  
  2 Taryn Rawlings               USA                    4:35.59  
  3 Emily Lipari                 USA                    4:36.98  
  4 Heather MacLean              USA                    4:37.24  
  5 Ellie Baker                  Great Britain          4:41.14  
  6 Yolanda Ngarambe             SWE                    4:41.56  
  7 Erin Teschuk                 Canada                 4:42.01  
  8 Allie Wilson                 USA                    4:42.61  
  9 Ellie Shea                   USA                    4:43.66  
 10 Sadi Henderson               USA                    4:50.88  
 11 Helen Schlachtenhaufen       USA                    4:56.67

Teferi was disappointed to miss the world record but happy to have been able to break the course record

Teferi, who finished 6th in the Olympic 5k last year and won the semi-final in New York last month, was clearly the class of the pack on paper and confirmed that status today. The BAA 5K course is fast if the conditions are good (which they have often been in this race), but the wind was too strong for her to beat it today.

Johnny Gregorek is loving life in Boston right now

Gregorek was a Massachusetts State Champion at Seekonk High School and after more than a decade away he returned to the Bay State last fall, moving to the Boston area to attend Suffolk Law School. Gregorek spends his days training (he is coached remotely by Andy Powell) and evenings attending classes and he enjoyed the arrangement, saying it brings structure to his life and allows him to flex his mental muscles as well as his physical muscles.

“It’s great,” Gregorek said. “My wife works at Northeastern, so we’re just a real couple from Boston, and we love it.”

Gregorek’s indoor season didn’t end on a high note as he was only 9th in the US in the 1,500m, but so far so good outdoors.

“The No. 1 goal was to come here and win the race,” Gregorek said. “Goal #2 will be the next race I run, to win that one too.”

Annie Rodenfels surprised herself by kicking the victory

Annie Rodenfels is not a milier. She has a 1500bp of 4:13, considers herself a strength runner and plans to focus on steeplechase this spring. Yet in what is becoming a frequent event (she also edged out NCAA XC champion Whittni Orton in a 3k in Boston in December), she had the best kick on the court today. Rodenfels said his coach Marc Carroll tells her not to leave it late, but she did today and it worked out fine anyway.

“He always tells me not to because especially in a field like this they can all overtake you,” Rodenfels said. “What he is right, they can. And my thing definitely goes with the force. And somehow I always, when he tells me to make a move, I’m like oh i don’t feel well and then I always leave it until the end.

Charles Philibert-Thiboutot says he had his “best workouts ever” at altitude

Today’s win by CPT definitely came as a surprise as the 31-year-old Canadian is best known for his exploits in the 1500. But he said he had his ‘best workouts ever’ at altitude on a recent training stint in Flagstaff and is excited about his 2022 season. CPT was a World and Olympic semi-finalist in 2015 and 2016, but did not race at Worlds in 2017 or 2019. He spent much of 2021 chasing an Olympic standard in the 1,500, but didn’t get it until July 25 (3:34.43 at the Sunset Tour), at which point the qualifying window had closed.

The good news is that the 3:34 has booked its place at Worlds 2022, and now Philibert-Thiboutot can focus on getting Eugene into shape. His morning didn’t start in the best way when Philibert-Thiboutot woke up to learn that Paulson had broken his Quebec provincial record in the 1,500m hours earlier at the Bryan Clay Invite by running 3:33.97 and knocking CPT out of the top 5 on the Canadian all-time list. Today’s victory was therefore a great way to bounce back and open his 2022 season.

Geordie Beamish looking to reset at start of outdoor season

Beamish made his world championship debut a month ago at the World Indoors in Serbia, but it wasn’t the biggest trip as he was only 10th in the 3000m final and tested positive for COVID in his return to Boulder. In true ‘manual George’ fashion, Beamish was dropped early but rode late and nearly knocked down CPT for the win, instead settling for second in 13:36. He has a busy spring as he will be at Penn in two weeks for the On Athletics Club 4 x mile world record attempt and run the 1500 at the Birmingham Diamond League on May 21, with a work rate at the Sound Running Track Meet probably between the two on May 6.

What happened to Kenyans David Bett and Edward Cheserek?

One of the reasons Philibert-Thiboutot’s 5k victory came as a surprise is that the field included two fit Kenyans in David Bett (who ran 28:17 to win the Cooper River Bridge Run on April 2) and Edward Cheserek (who ran 60:37 to finish second on a tough NYC Half course on March 20). However, neither had their best race today, as Bett finished 6th in 13:42 and Cheserek 9th in 13:56.

Weini Kelati feels good about his fitness

A second place in 15:04 is a good result for Kelati, especially considering the wind on the way back. Consider: Teferi, who was hoping to break her own women’s world record of 14:29, ran 14:49. The wind might not have been worth a full 20 seconds, but Kelati certainly would have had a chance to break 3:00 p.m. with better conditions.

Kelati said her training has been “much better” this year than it was at this time in 2021, when she only obtained her US citizenship three days before the Olympic trials and ended up dropping out of the 10,000. She is optimistic about her ability to make Team USA at the World Championship Trials at Hayward Field on May 27.

Denise W. Whigham