By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
With newly minted record holder Clif Struiken out of Saturday’s Mourant College Classic Series
Race three, it was former champion Khiry Creque stepping up to fend off his training partner Jelani Croal, to win Saturday’s race on Tortola in 11 minutes and 47.27 seconds, to Croal’s 11:51.33.
Creque, who missed the last race and ran together with Croal until the home stretch, said he felt very good about his performance and looks forward to improving in the next race.
“I knew he wasn’t going to make it easy for me, so I knew I really had to work for it,” he said, noting the race was missing Clif Struiken who was coming off breaking the 21 year old course record with a time of 10 minutes 38.12 seconds. “I definitely have my eye on him. As one of the few guys to ever run under 11 minutes, you really look out for guys like that. I wasn’t looking to win the series, but to be able to compete with him.”
Croal said he was tired and couldn’t keep his form towards the end of the race.
“My feet were hurting coming up the home stretch and I couldn’t keep up,” said Croal who is using the runs to prepare for the 2019 tack season. “This is helping me to reach my goal which is to go to the CARIFTA Games and helping me in the 800 meters towards qualifying.”
Derek Rawlins was third in 12:12, said that with his coworker Struiken out, he was hoping to climb the podium slightly.
“I didn’t anticipate Khiry improving quite so much from a month ago and I ended up third again, which isn’t a bad result, but I’ll take third, slightly quicker than last time, so that’s good, but same place, not so good,” he said. “I’m looking forward to two weeks’ time, and seeing if I can do better, but, those guys are further ahead. A lot further ahead than the last time we raced.”
Women’s winner Katrina Lndsay who had a time of 12:53.26, missed the last two races after climbing the 5,000 meters Mount Kenya, said her goal was just to enjoy the race.
“I’ve been away for a while so it was just to see where I was fitness wise,” she said. “My sister called last night and said ‘if you can get to the top of Mount Kenya on a hike, you can get to the top of this little hill’ and she was right.”
A technical difficulty resulted in overall race times being unavailable.
“I’m thankful that we were able to have race three given that we were rained out last week,” Race Director Stephanie Russ Penn said. “It’s a holiday weekend so the numbers were down but it was close to 100 which was really good. Today, we had the Rotarians who were helping to bring awareness to Polio eradication so persons came, made donations and ran towards that cause and got their pinkies painted purple and it was a good race otherwise.”
In the One Mile Division, Charlie Polgieter was the overall winner in a time of 6 minutes and 44.07 seconds. He was followed by Latriel Williams in 7:06.36 and Othinel Gillings in 7:7:35.05. Sofia Clifton won the Girls Division in 9:53.83. Millie Cottreau was second in 10:06.63 and Ava Ghiorse third in 10:46.52.
The Rotary Club of Tortola continued its dominance in the Service Clubs Cross Country category. Captain Michael Killourhy said ever since he has been part of Rotary, they have been enjoying the series as a club. He said it’s one of the most enjoyable Rotary and community events he gets involved with.
“I think it’s one of the events on the island where everybody takes part, no matter who you are, people come to the College Classic Series, they take part and have a lot of fun,” he noted. “In our Rotary Club, we’re about having fun too. We can get a little competitive with the Road Town Club, but mainly it’s about having fun and things that are fun, people come out and participate, they run well and they run fast. We just love it and that’s why we’re good at it.”
Killourhy added: “We have been dominant for the last 13 years, but it would be good if some of the Road Town and Rotaract Club could find some decent runners and come and compete with us, that would make it even more fun.”