Tim Ritchie ran a smart race at the BAA 10k back in June, and in doing so place 12th (2nd American) in a very competitive field. Here’s his first hand account of how it all went down:

I knew the BAA 10k was going to be a tough one. There is always a very deep and talented international field at the BAA events, and this was especially true for this year’s 10k. I was also going into it a little tired, coming off the US Half Marathon Championships the previous weekend. I took the week just doing some easy distance runs to hasten my recovery and was feeling pretty good heading into the race. The pre-race goals were top-10 and top American.

I was very happy to have my teammates there to warm-up and race with. We take a lot of pride running well at our own home events. Matt Ely, Colman Hatton, Grandpa Lutz, Eric Ashe and I cruised through some of the beginning of the course to warm up and get a feel for the heat, humidity and race layout. We were then brought to the start line surrounded by great runners (i.e. G.Mutai) and I chose my spot on the line next to Kim Smith. Last year, I went out way over my head running along side Geoffrey Mutai for two miles before dying the next four.

This year’s plan was to be much more patient for 5k and try to negative split and hopefully pick off some runners falling off the fast front pace. At two miles we had a nice pack which included Eric, Ruben Sanca, Chris Barnacle (old HS ‘rival’) and Landon Peacock of Zap. We were around 9:30 for two miles, about 30 seconds slower than last year. The front pack had pulled way ahead at this point. The third mile which is a gradual climb by the B.U. campus on Comm Ave, is very challenging, especially coming off the relatively flat earlier miles. Our chase pack started to divide on this third mile, which leads to a sharp turn around at Babcock St.

The good thing about the turn around is that you can assess where you are in the overall race. Landon and I took note of the runners in 9th and 10th falling off the back and after the turn-around at 5k, both started to pull away from our group switching on and off to reel in the two runners ahead in order to put ourselves in the top 10 (‘in the money’). I hit four miles evenly, but started to feel the heat and fatigue setting in. Landon had already moved into the money and I was closing in, both pre-race goals at my fingertips.

The three in front of me (realizing their spots in the race) really started to pull away, and by mile five on the long stretch home down Commonwealth, I was quite a few meters behind. It turned out to be a gap that I could not bridge. I was able to hold off a hard closing Ruben, and finish 12th overall in 29:59 (30 seconds faster than 2011), 2nd American behind Landon, who unfortunately came 11th. I was 15:00 at 5k, so a pretty even race all around - just what I was hoping for, after last year’s large positive split.

All in all I am happy with a competitive race and it was fun doing work with Landon during the tough middle miles. There was a whole crew of New Englanders right off the money. I know we are getting better as a region and its just a matter of time before you start to see more of us doing some damage on the national level. This race is the end of my spring/summer season and I head into three weeks off to rest up before building back for a big race late fall. Very happy to end the season with a great run with great teammates in a great Association.