By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Already the BVI Marathon record holder, Ras Alula Nagarit created history on Saturday when he debuted in the 14th Deloitte-Ogier BVI Sunrise Half Marathon, to claim his second national record.
Nagarit, competing in the territory for the first time since 2008, became the BVI’s first winner when he led from start to finish and stopped the clock at 1 hour 17 minutes and 44 seconds—marking the fourth fastest race in event history. In the process he chopped 17 minutes off Zebalon McLean’s 2011 mark of 1:34.45, for a new BVI Half Marathon national record.
Clif Struiken, who ran a strong second half, cut Nagarit’s 90 seconds lead to 46.82 and followed in a personal best of 1:18.31 as the only runners under 1:20.
“It was a good race, but the course is not really a good course,” Nagarit said. “Too many curves, you had to stop, cars in the road. I could have run faster, but there was nobody there to push. So, in order to get a faster time, you need competition to push and you need the course to have less curves. So for the future, they can improve the course to have the race much faster.”
Struiken said he went off on his own schedule and saw Nagarit took off with a speed and knew it wasn’t a smart idea to pursue him.
“I knew that 1:18.45 was my target pace and I think I executed very well on that and I ran a negative split,” he noted. “I managed not to go faster but I ‘m very happy I built it up well towards the end according to training plans and so, I’m very happy. Really good race.”
Struiken’s wife Kim led for the first 11 of the 13.1 miles race before she was overhauled by Katrina “Kat” Lindsay in the Road Reef area, to record a personal best of 1:37.12 in ninth overall. Kim also recorded a personal best, finishing 18.63 seconds adrift of Lindsay, with her 1:37.30 career best to place 10th. It marked the first time that a husband and wife have finished second in the event. There were a dozen women who ran under 2 hours, including debutant Caroline Sorrentino, third in 1:44.33.
“I am so happy with the result. It was a tough race to get there,” noted Lindsay. “Kim gave me a good run for my money. She was really strong today. To be honest, I thought she had it. Towards the end, I was just managing to keep a pace that indicated to me that she was maybe slowing down a wee bit, so I thought just keep this because I felt okay and I managed to take her. It was a good hard run. The hardest I’ve had to run in a Half Marathon.”
For Kim, it was just her second race since the 2018 Half Marathon. Her first race was the Ceres Juices 10K Series finale on Nov 9.
“I was looking to break my personal best from last year which was 1:45, so that’s what I was going for,” she pointed out. “I kept the pace going in the first round, felt really strong and I ended up breaking my PB with 1:37.30. That’s quite a big new personal best.”
Kim said she led through 18km then Lindsay—who has the speed—passed her.
“I couldn’t keep up,” she said. “I have the endurance. I need to work on my speed a little bit and see how it goes next year.”
The North West Co., parent company of Riteway, brought in 75 runners to compete in the event. Coach Scott Munn said it was and awesome experience for everyone.
“A little warm, but is has been and awesome experience coming from Canada and some of the kids came from far in northern Canada, so it was an awesome experience to get out and see everything,” he said. “It was an awesome opportunity. They worked hard to raise money for our foundation so it was an awesome experience for them. It was a great race and everybody had a great time.”
Stephanie Leduc, the fastest of the visitors, placed 25th overall in 1:51.24.
“I was looking forward to the heat because I’m from the arctic, so it’s been cold and we don’t have sun right now, so it’s all dark—all day,” Leduc pointed out. “Got here, enjoyed the sun and on the first lap, I was like yeah, this I can do, and then second lap, I was like oh, there’s the sun. This is hot. It’s a hot place to be, but it was a great race. I enjoyed it. It was awesome.”
Road Town Whole’s marketing manager Dawn Callwood, said she thought it was a wonderful event and attended for the first time.
“My had goes off to all the participants because I know I cannot do it, but it was fun, very enthusiastic,” she noted. “Everyone did a good job pushing through, participating and enjoying it. I was happy to be here and looking forward to next year.”
Race Director Kay Reddy said this race surpassed previous ones was an absolutely great race double the size of previous editions.
“It’s the first time a BVI runner has taken the trophy home,” Reddy pointed out. “We’ve given the trophy away to St. Martin, to St. Thomas, to St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand, and this time the trophy stays at home which is really nice. It was a great event having the visiting runners from the North West Company in Canada. We sincerely thank everyone involved in making a great event.”
Meanwhile, visiting runner Chris Cabatbat of Winnipeg, Canada, engaged his girlfriend Brittany Gaultois after they crossed the line holding hands and flashing smiles in 2 hrs 41 minutes and 32 seconds—the first engagement in race history.
The top five finishers were: Men: 1, Ras Alula Nagarit, 1 hr 17 minutes and 44 seconds. (New BVI Half Marathon record. Old record, Zebalon McLean, 1:34.45, 2011.). 2. Clif Struiken, 1:18.31. 3. Julius Farley, 1:27.14. 4. Paul Mellor, 1:29.40.5. Jermaine Ricketts, 1:31.49.
Women: 1. Katrina “Kat” Lindsay, 1:37.12. 2. Kim Struiken, 1:37.30. 3. Caroline Sorrentino, 1:44.33. 4. Tameka Davis, 1:48.25. 5. Johanna Murphy, 1:48.28.
For complete race results, visit https://www.webscorer.com/racedetails?raceid=204380&did=227602