By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The Northwest Company—parent company of Riteway—is bringing 75 of the more than 100 visiting runners who will participate in Saturday’s 14th Deloitte-Ogier BVI Sunrise Half Marathon, making it the largest international field in its history.
Northwest participants are expected from Alaska, Canada, Guam, Cayman Islands and Barbados, will join their BVI counterparts, all of whom are raising monies for various charities in their respective communities. Riteway has set out to $10,000 for the BVI Diabetics Association.
Set to start at 6 a.m., the 2-laps race will start and end at the A. O. Shirley Grounds. The course will take runners to Sea Cows Bay with a turnaround in the area of the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School. The stretch of road from Prospect Reef to the well in Sea Cows Bay will be closed between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Traffic heading east from beyond Sea Cows Bay, will be diverted over the hill by the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School to connect with the Paul Wattley Road. Traffic from Road Town going beyond Prospect Reef, will be diverted to the Paul Wattley Road.
Saturday’s 13.1 miles race is expected to be the fastest since the course record of 1 hour 07 minutes and 38 seconds was established by New Zealand’s Michael Aish in 2010. For the first time in its history, the BVI will have a participant among those contesting for the $500 prize. BVI Marathon record holder Ras Alula Nagarit will make his debut and be among those upfront vying for the top spot, including Clif Struiken, Neil Riley and others from among the over 100 visiting runners. Nagarit is expected to improve on the BVI Half Marathon record of 1 hour 34 minutes and 45 seconds set by Zebalon McLean in 2011.
New male and female champions will be crowned as defending champions, St. Lucia’s Michael Biscette and St. Martin’s Cecilia Mobuchon—who established the women’s record of 1 hour 25 minutes and 40 seconds in finishing fourth overall in 2018—will not contest this year’s event.
There will also be a battle among corporate teams, who will try to dethrone Collas Crill for the Corporate Relay Cup and break their record of 1:40.26. The relay team of Cate Barbour and Neil Riley, will seek to retain their title and improve on their 1:34.42 mark from a year ago.
“This year’s race is shaping up to be a fantastic event,” Race Director Kay Reddy said. “We’ll have a large international field of runners, see the BVI’s very own Ras Alula Nagarit making his debut and the likes of Clif Struiken and Neil Riley who have been dominating the local series, challenging for the top spots. The women’s race is wide open as the defending champion Cecelia Mobuchon from St. Martin won’t be here and St. Thomas’ Ruth Ann David—a four times winner—has another engagement, so we await to see who will take the reins.”