Weini Kelati sets new event record at Boston 10K for Women

Beats record by three seconds on the streets of Boston

In her first professional road race, 24-year-old Weini Kelati blazed to victory and a new event record at the Boston 10K for Women, Presented by REI. The Flagstaff resident and Eritrean-born Kelati broke the tape in a time of 31:18, besting Molly Huddle’s 2015 event record by three seconds, and proudly wore the laurel wreath past the Charles Street Finish Line.

With a decisive move at the three-mile mark, Kelati widened her lead with each stride, drawing cheers from the Saturday morning crowd, and leaning into the final turns around the Boston Public Garden. “Today’s goal was to win, and I’m so happy I was able to do it, said Kelati moments after her victory. “My plan from the beginning was to push, because I’ve been doing so well in my training, and I’ve been seeing a lot of improvement.”

A resident of Flagstaff, Kelati is one of the most decorated athletes to ever attend the University of New Mexico, and came into the Boston 10K for Women with the fastest 10,000 meter time of anyone in the elite field. After a first mile of 5:05, a pack of three emerged at two miles, when Kelati was joined by training partner Sharon Lokedi of Flagstaff, and Mary Munanu. The two Kenyans stayed with Kelati for a mile, passing crowds along Cambridge’s Memorial Drive, and drawing cheers from trailing runners passing in the other direction.

At mile three, however, the Weini Kelati show began, as she surged ahead from Lokedi and Munanu, who would finish second and third respectively, in times of 31:57 and 32:35. The out-front running was no problem for Kelati, who logs plenty of solo miles in Arizona. “I just race with myself [in my training] and see how fast I can run. I know there were fast runners here today who could hang on with me, but all I was thinking was I’m just going to go and run my race.” Her plan worked to the tune of a new American record. “This is what makes me feel great – when I finish the race, so, I did it.” Kelati averaged 5:03 pace for the 6.2-mile race, and earns $9,000 for the victory.

The Boston 10K for Women was held on a Saturday morning for the first time in race history, having moved its traditional race date of the second Monday in October to accommodate the 125th Boston Marathon. More than 3,000 registered runners took to the streets and cheered for Kelati on her record-setting run. “I think it’s more fun to do the road race, there are people everywhere!” said Kelati, who has raced several times in Boston, but never experienced the thrill of a road race.

For Kelati, today’s race was also a chance at redemption from the 2021 Olympic Trials in June, where she did not finish. “Last summer, I kind of left heartbroken because I didn’t make the [US Olympic 10,000 Meter Team], and the race didn’t go as I needed. But I am so proud to be here, a citizen, and represent America at the highest level.”

Formerly known as the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women, the race is New England’s largest all-women’s sporting event the second longest-running all-women’s race in the country.

For race founder Dusty Rhodes, it’s an annual tradition she was happy to see return. “We were thrilled to put together a virtual event last year for our runners, but nothing beats this,” said Rhodes, gesturing to hugging friends at the finish line. “We’re excited to be back. Road races are celebratory events that bring out the best in all of us, and today’s a perfect example of that.”

Molly Huddle wins the 2019 Boston 10K for Women

The Rhode Island Native Breaks Away Wins Fifth Title in 31:50

Molly Huddle of Rhode Island won her fifth Boston 10K for Women today in downtown Boston in a time of 31:50, adding to her 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2015 victories. The current event record holder and current US 10K women’s-only 10K record holder, Huddle broke away from Kenyan Iveen Chepkemoi after the four-mile mark, and never looked back. Under cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 60s, Huddle was the first of more than 3,000 women to finish today’s race. Now in its 43rd year, the event is New England’s first and longest running all-women’s sporting event.

Elites at the start of the race“I love coming here for this race,” said Huddle, sporting an olive wreath and with beads of sweat after her victory. “This race was the first really big race that I won coming out of school in 2008, so it’s always been special to me.” Huddle recently placed ninth at the IAAF World Championships, running the 10,000 meters in 31:07, and currently holds several US racing records. A group of six women took out race pace ahead of Huddle’s 2015 record pace, running mile one in 5:01, and dwindled to four at mile two, with another 5:01 split.

“Iveen and I dropped everybody after two miles I think and after 5K we got worried about beating each other and we slowed a bit. I was surprised how much we slowed down, because the early miles made it feel hard. We were definitely hurting.” Huddle and Chepkemoi extended their lead through mile three and four, with Emily Infeld holding them within range, and with thousands of runners cheering them on as they ran in the other direction. The race turned tactical on the Massachusetts Avenue bridge, with Chepkemoi tucking in behind Huddle as they raced back into Boston, passing the five-mile mark in 25:44.

With 300 meters to go, Huddle turned the final corner on Charles Street with Chepkemoi only a few paces behind. “By the time we turned the corner, I just wanted to measure my kick in case she was going to be with me the whole way,” said Huddle. “It was just about getting there.” “I couldn’t sense where she was, but I heard the announcer saying she was close, so I tried to go all-out.”

Huddle and Chepkemoi crossing the Mass Ave. BridgeHuddle broke the tape with her arms raised, and was quickly met with a race medal, wreath, and American flag. With the win, the 35-year-old takes home $9,000 in prize money.

Chempkemoi could not have exerted anymore of herself. After finishing she lowered herself to the pavement, exhausted. She was met by medical personnel and taken to the medical tent, where she was quickly released. She finished with a time of 31:56. Behind Chepkemoi was 29-year-old Emily Infeld of Portland, OR, who finished in 32:14.

Infeld won a US title at this event in 2013, and finished fourth in 2014. “It was so nice to be here today and to work hard, amongst a super talented field,” said Infeld. “I tried to get out with the leaders, which was definitely too hot of a pace for the shape I’m in, but I was happy overall with my time, really pushed myself. This event is so much fun, there is such great energy. I love it on the bridge, when the women are running past and cheering you on. I was kind of dying at that point – but it gave me so much more energy.”

The day comes on a big weekend in the distance running world, one day after Brigid Kosgei’s World Record performance in the Chicago Marathon. Her time of 2:14:04 certainly sent some motivation to Boston. When asked if that performance fueled her today, Huddle smiled and nodded. “I was saying ‘you better try to run the same pace that Brigid ran for the Marathon for this 10K, that’s kind of crazy if you can’t do that,’ but it shows how fast that time was. It was blitzing fast.”

Finishing in fourth place was Notre Dame standout and Boston resident Molly Seidel, in a time of 32:52. Catherine Mwanzau of Kenya finished fifth in 32:58.

More than 3,000 women competed in the race, which has started and finished at Boston Common since its second year in 1978. The first race in 1977 started along Memorial Drive, in Cambridge. Race founder and president of race organizers, Conventures, Inc., Dusty Rhodes was elated with the results of the day. “What a performance by Molly today, and what a day for a race for these thousands of women” Rhodes said, as she passed out high-fives to elated finishers. “This is my favorite part of the day”, Rhodes said as the finish clock hit the 1 hour, 30 minute mark, “seeing these women come through with the biggest smile on their face, it’s very powerful.”

The breaktape was held by women’s running pioneers Bobbi Gibb and Sara Mae Berman, who, between the two of them, won the first six Boston Marathon titles ranging from 1966-1971. This year marked the second year of Reebok’s sponsorship of the race, which for many years was known as the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women.

2019 Boston 10K for Women Results

  1. Molly Huddle (35, USA) 31:50
  2. Iveen Chepkemoi (22, KEN) 31:56
  3. Emily Infeld (29, USA) 32:14
  4. Molly Seidel (25, USA) 32:52
  5. Catherine Syokau Mwanzau (20, KEN) 32:58
  6. Paige Stoner (22, USA) 33:30
  7. Aisling Cuffe (26, USA) 33:58
  8. Mara Olson (26, USA) 35:15
  9. Lauren Perkins (37, USA) 35:25
  10. Samantha George (25, USA) 35:35

Bobbi Gibb to be Official Starter

Women’s running pioneer and legend to start October’s race

In the 1960s, there was a belief—by some—that women where not physiologically able to run long distances. Roberta Gibb disagreed. She could regularly run for hours near her home in Southern California.

In 1966, Bobbi rode a bus for several days to Boston, allured by a new challenge—the Boston Marathon. She convinced her mother to drive her to Hopkinton, she hid in the bushes, and after the gun fired, she hopped into the race. She became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, and she changed history.

Five decades on she continues to inspire, and she’ll serve as our Official Starter on Columbus Day. We are thrilled, honored, and so proud to have one of the greatest athletic pioneers of our time with us.

To commemorate the pioneering era of women’s running, Bobbi has championed a project to install a statue of a woman runner near the Start Line in Hopkinton.

Currently there is no statue of a woman along the Boston Marathon course.

The project has recently been approved by the town of Hopkinton, and it is now in its final phase of fundraising.

You can help push this project over the finish line, and learn more about the endeavor here.

Meet the 2019 Elite Athlete Field!

Some of the world’s fastest ladies are heading to Boston Common

The field is headlined by four-time champion Molly Huddle, fresh off her ninth-place finish at the IAAF Championships in Doha, Qatar, where she ran 31:07.24. Joining Huddle on the Beacon Street starting line will be 21-year-old Iveen Chepkemoi of Kenya, riding a hot 2019 that includes a 31:59 personal best at the B.A.A. 10K in June. They’ll be challenged by U.S. Olympian and 2015 World Championships bronze medalist Emily Infeld, who looks to build off her 32:39 fourth-place performance in August’s Beach to Beacon 10K. For Huddle, October’s 10K marks a return to an event where her 2015 time of 31:21 remains an event record and the US 10K record for a women’s-only race.  She also broke the tape in 2008 (32:51), 2009 (32:07), and 2010 (32:00).

Name Residence 10K/10,000 meters PR
Maddy Berkson (24, USA) Providence, RI Debut
Chelsea Blaase (24, USA) Rochester Hills, MI 34:09 (roads, 2017)/31:57.56 (track, 2018)
Lindsey Brewis (22, USA) Dearborn, MI 33:56.32 (track, 2019)
Iveen Chepkemoi (21, KEN) Kenya 31:59 (roads, 2019)
Andie Cozzarelli (29, USA) Raleigh, NC 34:30 (roads,2016)/33:26 (track, 2012)
Aisling Cuffe (26, USA) Providence, RI 34:13 (roads, 2019)
Sammy George (25, USA) Raleigh, NC 35:11 (roads, 2019)
Molly Huddle (35, USA) Providence, RI 31:21 (roads, 2015)/30:13.17 (track, 2016)
Emily Infeld (29, USA) Portland, OR 31:47 (roads, 2013)/31:20.45 (track, 2017)
Kimberly Maloney (30, USA) Raleigh, NC 34:38 (roads, 2014)/33:16.45 (track, 2011)
Catherine Syokau Mwanzau (20, KEN) Kenya 32:52 (roads, 2019)
Katherine Newberry (41, USA) Ann Arbor, MI 33:31 (roads, 2010)/32:45.78 (track, 2004)
Mara Olson (26, USA) San Francisco, CA 34:05 (roads, 2016)/33:03.80 (track, 2015)
Tasia Potasinski (29, USA) San Francisco, CA Debut
Rachele Schulist (25, USA) Rochester Hills, MI 35:52 (roads, 2014)/33:24.97 (track, 2016)
Molly Seidel (25, USA) Boston, MA 32:55 (roads, 2019)/32:34.78 (track, 2018)
Sybil Shapiro (41, USA) Vernon, CT 36:37 (roads, 2015)
Paige Stoner (22, USA) Charlottesville, VA Road debut/32:07.36 (track, 2017)

*This Elite field is subject to change. The names listed are up to date as of 10/9/19.

A burst of speed – 2018 race highlights

It’s nearly impossible to put all that electric race day energy into words, but we thought it was time we captured at least a bit of that magic in a video.

To the women running and the women we run for – this one’s for YOU!

Linda Epstein, a force of nature

Like a lot of us, Emily Margolis started running because she was watched someone she admired go running. In Margolis’ case, her aunt Linda Epstein ran A LOT.

“From the time I was born – she was just always running,” Margolis says of her aunt. “She got into the wave of women’s running – [and would run] a lot of 10Ks, community races here and there, and then she ran the Boston Marathon in 1986.

After the 2003 race, Linda Epstein, Epstein’s sister Caron Stringi, Emily Margolis (with dog Reggie) and Emily’s mother Arleen Schwartz (L to R) gathered for some post-race love.

In 1982, she fell in love with the Bonne Bell Mini Marathon, now the Boston 10K for Women. “The feel, the date, and 9 times out of 10 it was great weather, and all the excitement here – she just loved it.” Epstein raced every Columbus Day except for 1990, when she was in labor with her son, Jared.

“She was a creature of habit. She ran six miles a day, six days a week, for almost 40 years,” says Margolis. Her dedication was legendary—when a storm brought down a tree at her office park in Peabody, it blocked her daily route. She called to have it removed. When the help never came, she proceeded with her run, climbing over and through the tree, sticking to her routine.

A force of nature in her own right, Epstein won her age group regularly in races around Massachusetts and became a familiar face with track clubs and running groups around town.

Linda Epstein finished the 2017 Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women. A race “she just loved.”

Leading up to the 2017 race, Epstein started to feel different. “She had lost some weight over the summer, had some shortness of breath, and throughout the fall leading up to the race, she was having a harder and harder time running,” recalls Margolis. “And [running] was such a part of her routine, that she knew something was wrong.”

On October 9, 2017, she raced anyway. “She finished in 1:05 and [the race] was really hard for her. She had to stop several times, which was something she never had to do,” says Margolis. “She went to the hospital on Halloween, got a scan, and that’s when the stage 4 cancer was discovered.”

Epstein and her family were stunned. “It was quick moving, and hers was particularly bad,” says Margolis. “She thought she could beat it. Nothing seemed to work. It was just really, really, really fast.” On April 20, 2018, Epstein died at just 65 years old.

As another Columbus Day nears, Margolis knows where Linda would have wanted to be. She can envision her aunt running her daily miles and gearing up for another finish on Charles Street. That’s why she, her mother Arleen, and Epstein’s sister Caron will pin on their bib numbers and take to the starting line as part of “Linda’s Team” on October 8. Epstein’s husband Rick, her son Jared, and her daughter-in-law Erica Epstein will be cheering on from the sideline, and the family will gather to celebrate Linda Epstein’s favorite race. We can’t wait to cheer them on.

Do you or someone you know have an inspiring or powerful story tied to this race? Send us the details at stories@boston10kforwomen.com.