BOSTON, MA—Heps alums have a strong presence in the world of post-collegiate professional racing, and this Boston Marathon “weekend” many of these elite runners joined in the tradition of excellence to post top finishes for team USA and international teams. Known for its hills and often imperfect weather conditions, the tough marathon course was fought through with strength and resilience this year, in the name of the “Boston Strong” aura surrounding the event. The B.A.A. 5k and B.A.A. Invitational Mile, both run on Saturday, began the event’s top performances, namely from elite former Dartmouth and Cornell runners, Ben True and Morgan Uceny, while the marathon was held on its usual Monday (Patriots Day), also seeing a number of top 30 performances in the elite field from men and women alumni.
The first Heps showing began with Dartmouth graduate, Ben True (‘09 graduate), becoming the first man to ever win the B.A.A. 5k three times, finishing in a new road 5k American record of 13:22. True won the race in 2011 and 2012, in times of 14:07 and 13:41, meaning he has taken almost a minute off of his time since his first victory there in 2011. This year True has most recently won the USA 15k National Championships in Jacksonville, Florida in March. James Leakos (Harvard ’14) was a top 10 finisher in the 5k, crossing in 7th place with a time of 14:25. Leakos, a Canadian native, had a successful career at Harvard ending less than a full year ago, where he was off and on the number one scorer for Harvard in cross country switching with other standout Harvard alum, Maskim Korolev.
Former Big Red superstar, Morgan Uceny, ran true to character in the B.A.A. Invitational Mile, blazing to a third place finish in 4:37.7. Uceny has won the event three times before, in 2010, 2012 and 2014, narrowly missing a repeat this year behind Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum (4:35.4) and American Heather Kamf (4:37.0). Uceny graduated in 2007, after earning 4x All-American honors during her undergrad at Cornell, winning the indoor and outdoor NCAA 800m her junior and senior years. She has since traveled to the World Track and Field Championships in 2011, and the 2012 London Olympic games where she has been ranked as high as first in the world entering the events.
Columbia Lion, Lisa Nemec (’03 graduate) represented her home country of Croatia, finishing in 12th place in a time of 2:35:18. Nemec moved to Croatia to begin her professional career post-collegiately, and has earned national records in the 3000m Steeplechase, 5000m, Half Marathon and Marathon. Hilary Dionne (Dartmouth ’07), got perhaps the most publicity of all, finishing hand-in-hand with last year’s victor, Meb Keflezighi, in an impressive 15th place (2:40.42). Dionne’s photo finishing with Meb has been used as a capstone photo for the event, capturing the spirit of the race and community. Another accomplished Dartmouth alumni, Kristin Barry, finished in 26th place overall with a time of 2:49.32, continuing her long affair with the marathon. After becoming the Heps 10k champion in 1996 during her senior year at Dartmouth, Barry has only grown as a competitor, eventually making the 2012 Olympic Trials with a personal best of 2:40. For the overall win, Caroline Rotich of Kenya made a last 200-meter surge to out-kick Mare Dibaba in a time of 2:24:55.
In the men’s race, two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, Sage Canaday, finished in 16th place in a time of 2:19.12. Canaday graduated from Cornell in ’08, after performing as a top cross country runner in the Heps, where he most impressively broke the school record in the marathon by over five minutes en route to becoming the only collegian to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the event. Chistopher Zablocki (Dartmouth ’10) finished amongst the top elites as well, grabbing a 20th place finish in 2:20:35. Zablocki had a successful undergraduate career as a top cross country scorer for Dartmouth, but has blossomed into an elite marathon contender, earning a qualifier for the Olympic Trials in 2016. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the race in 2:09:17, with a margin of 31 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
The 2016 Olympic Trials “B-Standard” for men is 2:18 and 2:43 for women, and although Canaday and Zablocki did not hit this time on Monday, they’ve already met the standard. Nemec and Dionne have achieved the women’s standard as well, so look out for more fierce results from these elite alums as they prepare for next summer’s Trials.
We also received word via twitter that Louisa Geritz Garry (Yale ’87 alumna and mother to current Yale athletes Kira and Katrina Garry) raced yesterday, finishing the marathon in 4:01:34. If you have any other names you’d like us to share, email us their race name, school, and year graduated, and we will add them in.
Full results can be found at the Boston Athletic Association’s Website.
– Jenny DeSouchet