By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Dormant for five months including the interruption by Hurricane Irma that wiped out the road racing calendar including the annual College Classic Series, road racing in the territory roared back to life on Sunday, with the staging of the 12th Deloitte-Ogier BVI Sunrise Half Marathon.
The race that attracted 54 participants including 10K runners and a corporate relay, returned to start at the Tortola Sports Club for the first time since 2009, but, using a different course, since the A. O. Shirley Grounds was severely damaged, during Hurricane Irma.
Julius Farley who was the top local runner in the 2016 edition and fourth overall, took control from the outset and set the pace on the two laps from the Tortola Sports Club in Pasea to the Sensus Gym in Pieces of Eight, with his main rival Reuben Stoby, laboring in tow.
Farley, who enjoyed a 45 seconds lead at the Sensus Gym turnaround, turned up the heat on the second lap, turning a 2 minutes and 11 seconds advantage after the first lap into a six minutes victory, covering the course in 1 hour 32 minutes and 06 seconds.
“My plan was to go out early so I could make good use of the shade and that’s exactly what I did,” Farley said. “Despite the hurricane and the cancellation of so many races, we were able to pull it off today so I want to thank the organizers, sponsors and participants for making it happen.”
After the hurricanes and since there were no 10K races, Farley said he had a few short runs the furthest being about six miles and that prepared him mentally for the race.
“I know I had to come out and try to retain the local Half Marathon title after winning it last year, then the Virgin Gorda Half Marathon earlier this year, so I knew I had to be prepared,” he pointed out. “I knew Stoby would be coming because he’s a good runner, but my strategy worked well. I knew I couldn’t wait until the finishing point because he’s very good towards the ending so I had to make my move early so he wasn’t able to keep up. Winning this race is a great accomplishment.”
Stoby who finished in 1:38.38, said Farley was probably the only person in race shape.
“It was pretty hot out there and I knew from inception that I couldn’t good too hard, so I held back so I wouldn’t hurt myself or do too much to hurt the heart,” Stoby explained. “But, I was wonderful to get the Half Marathon going. Congratulations to Julius. I think he feared very well in the heat.”
Maria Mays won the women’s division in 1 hour 54 minutes and 01 seconds.
“It was the hardest Half Marathon I’ve ever done, mainly because I’ve run about six times since Irma,” she said. “I’ve been really busy at work but I thought it was important to come out and do it because the spirit today is absolutely amazing and I was hoping that might make the race easy, but it didn’t. but, it was brilliant anyway.”
Karen Fraser who finishes second behind Mays in 1:58.31, said her strategy was just to finish.
“I haven’t been able to train over the last few months so it was nice to finish and it was nice to see everyone out running,” she said. “The heat was a massive challenge. It was so hot on that second loop, but the two loops were nice because you kept passing people and got encouragement as you went by.”
Race director Kay Reddy, sixth overall in 2:26.04, whose house, office and car were damaged, said what they have learnt is how strong the BVI is and she has gained so many friendships.
“The sponsors—Deooitte-Ogier—were really, really keen that the 12th edition would go on and in the spirit of Irma, we said we’ll do a fun run and we’ll probably get 20 or 30 people turning up,” she said. “But we had 54 registered which shows how important this race was. It was great race and the need for the race.”
Reddy thanked the media for its role in promoting the event.
Individual results. Men: 1. Julius Farley, 1 hour 32 minutes and 60 seconds. 2. Reuben Stoby, 1:38.38. 3. Paul Mellor, 1:41.12. 4. Tom Lillyma, 1:51.59. 5. Patrick Thompson, 2:03.11. 6. Adrian Dale, 2:04.25. 7. Sergio Dantes, 2:05.02. 8. Owen Walker, 2:07.39. 9. Richard Morris, 2:10.19. 10. Mark Field, 2:10.40. 11. Justin Blakmoore, 2:12.19. 12. Ray Wearmouth, 2:12.42. 13. Nick Quinn, 2:19.45. 14. Richard Marniotte, 2:20.04. 15. Kenton Jones, 2:33.22. 16. Bryan Jermyn, 2:42.32.
Women: Maria Mays, 1:54.01. 2. Karen Fraser, 1:58.31. 3. Rosmond Johnson, 2:01.29. 4. Melisande Rowe, 2:05.51. 5. Karrina Snead, 2:19.45. 6. Kay Reddy, 2:26.04. 7. Natasha Ruscheinski, 2:34.25. 8. Samiriamis Sarkardei, 2:24.27. 9. Kerry Dos Santos, 2:24.28. 10. Anna Kinkead, 2:48.48. 11. Simpa Ganadillo, 2:52.27. 12. Nedy Ador Dionicio, 2:56.37.