Ben Flanagan shatters Canadian record at BAA 5K

Ben Flanagan shatters Canadian record at BAA 5K

For the second year in a row, the men’s Canadian 5K record was shattered at the BAA 5K in Boston. Ben Flanagan of Kitchener, Ont., placed second in the race and broke the previous Canadian record by ten seconds in 13:26.

There was a lot of buzz around the Canadian 5K record heading into Saturday’s race, with Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec City coming in as the national record holder and defending BAA 5K champion, while Flanagan came into the race as the reigning Canadian 5K champion, holding the second-fastest 5K time in Canadian history.

The men’s elite race got out quickly, going through the first mile in four minutes and 12 seconds (13:00-flat pace). Flanagan and Philibert-Thiboutot found themselves in the chase pack after Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kidanu was off to an early lead. Philibert-Thiboutot drove the chase pack to catch Kidanu at the 3K point.

In the final mile, a large pack of 15 runners was still in contention, lining up for a sprint finish on Charles St. through the Boston Common. Flanagan made a move with his Very Nice Track Club training partner, US miler Morgan Beadlescomb,with 300 meters to go, and held on to finish second behind Beadlescomb in 13:26. Kenya’s Edwin Kurgat finished third in 13:27.

Flanagan took a glance over his shoulder with one mile to go and couldn’t believe how many guys were in the lead group. β€œWhen Morgan made his move, I knew I had to keep myself close to him,” says Flanagan. β€œHe and Charles are 1,500m guys, so you know they are explosive.”

2023 BAA 5K champion Morgan Beadlescomb and Canada’s Ben Flanagan. Photo: Kevin Morris

β€œThe race was awesome,” says Flanagan. β€œEven though I ran there four years ago, it well exceeded my expectations.”

This 5K record is the third Canadian road record Flanagan has broken in the last 12 months. Last June, he broke the long-standing Canadian 10K record at the BAA 10K in Boston, finishing fourth in 28:11. Four months later, he ran the Canadian half-marathon record of 61-flat, beating Cam Levins by four seconds at the Valencia Half Marathon. Levins later took the half-marathon record back, running 60:18 at the Vancouver First Half in February.

β€œMy goal is to make a world’s team,” says Flanagan. β€œIt annoys me that I haven’t been able to do it yet.”

Flanagan and Philibert-Thiboutot will head back to the track to chase the 2023 world championships 5,000m standard of 13:07:00 at the Sound Running Invitational in Los Angeles on May 6.

Canada’s Julie-Anne Staehli finished 13th in the women’s 5K, in 15:50. The 2022 world championship steeplechase bronze medallist, Mekides Abebe of Ethiopia, won the women’s race in a sprint finish ahead of Kenya’s Agnes Ngetich, at 15:01. American Annie Rodenfels of Boston finished third in 15:12.

You can find all results from the BAA 5K, here.

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