Boston Marathon weekend started off with a bang as Maine native Ben True broke his own American record in the 9th annual B.A.A. 5K. True, 31, of West Lebanon, N.H., prevailed in a two-man sprint against his key rival Stephen Sambu of Kenya, breaking the tape on Charles Street between the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common in 13:20, two seconds better than his previous record set in 2015. It was also an event record and True's fourth victory in the event.
"It's great," said True speaking with reporters after the race on a brilliant New England spring day. "Today was beautiful weather, no real wind at all, crowds were great, cheering my name the whole way. It's awesome."
A terrific elite field put together by the Boston Athletic Association's Mike Pieroni contributed to True's success today. Dejen Gebremeskel, the 2012 Olympic 5000m silver medalist from Ethiopia, was the key player in the opening kilometers, taking a lead pack of six through the first mile in a snappy 4:19. True stayed tucked in the pack behind Gebremeskel and was joined by Kenyans Sambu, James Kibet, and Philip Langat, plus Scotland's Chris O'Hare. True, a powerful closer, was happy to let the Ethiopian do the work.
"Dejen Gebremeskel took it out pretty quick for the first mile," True explained. He added, "I think people know my racing strategy pretty well by now."
O'Hare was the first to fall off the lead pack about three minutes later, then Kibet took to the front. Again, True tucked in and bided his time as the second mile went down in 4:23.