By Dean “The Sportsman Greenaway
Rodrigo “Roddy” dos Santos fended off a challenge from Michael Martin in Sage Mountain, while his wife Kerry-Ann overhauled Sarah Latham 27 miles into Saturday’s 54Km (33.4) miles Tortola Torture, to make history as the first husband and wife to win the event in its seven year history.
As Martin ascended Sage Mountain, he pulled within five minutes of Roddy, who at the time was descending, but couldn’t close the gap over the rest of the course that meandered through Brewers Bay, Ridge Road, past the Prison, over to Little Mountain with a Trellis Bay finish.
“I wasn’t expecting to see him so close up at Sage. He was a lot closer at the point than I thought he was going to be,” said Roddy, who finished in 5 hours 48 minutes and 56 seconds, while Martin completed the course in 6:14.29. “At that point, I just put my head down and I know the second half of the course because that’s the part I do as a team of two. So I put my head down hoping to not see him again and I didn’t. At that point when I saw him, I thought it’s going to be a competition and that’s what kept me driving and pushing that second half of the race, just thinking this guy could be right behind me.”
Kerry-Ann made her move after Belle Vue, to overhaul Latham, getting to the line 22 minutes ahead of her rival in 6:55.25, while Latham covered the course in 7:18.51. “It was hot and challenging, pretty much ran it every year before except for last year, and this was the first time I was actually being a competitor because I usually run for fun, more that to compete,” she said. “It was a change for me. Most enjoyable and I’m very happy with the result. I was surprised to win. I actually thought Sarah was a strong runner. When I caught sight of her, that was it. I decided to give it my all and go.”
What was it like that she and her husband won? “Definitely very cool,” she said. “It was a first for both of us.”
Defending women’s champion Natasha Ruscheniski opted to do the Torture in reverse on Friday and the regular course on Saturday as a fundraiser for PAW, and was joined by Sam Thompson, Ray Wearmouth, Greg O’Keefe-Davis and Justin Smit.
“We completed two times the distance in two days and it was a pretty epic challenge,” Ruscheniski noted. “All five who started it completed it, which was great to see. In total, we would have raised over $20,000 in donations towards PAW and will cover about a month and a half towards our expenses and relieve some pressure on the fundraising side of things.”
Aiming to break the relay course record of 4:58.06, established by Julius Farley, Rosmond Johnson and Reuben Stoby, the quartet of Farley, Jermaine “JJ” Ricketts and Johnson, covered the course in 5:08.54. They could have challenged the mark had Ricketts been at the first exchange, where they lost almost seven minutes. “I knew with my leg and JJ’s leg, but with Rose’s leg, I wasn’t sure,” Farley said of the record attempt. “Rose isn’t at her best at this moment, so that was the little doubt.”
Ricketts said the record wasn’t the main priority. “We tried, and we tried to do our best,” he noted. “We didn’t try to kill ourselves. We didn’t want to get injured as always. We came close, a little disappointed, but it wasn’t the main priority.”
Despite having smaller numbers than previous years, event coordinator Alastair Abrehart.
“We had some great runners, mainly a local crowd, with some visitors from overseas which was very good to see,” he said. “It was a hard day and pretty much everyone completed it, had a good day and was safe which is always good. We had a lot of support on the road from our volunteers.”