By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Jonathan Lynch kicked off the 26th annual Mourant College Classic Series with a wire to wire victory on Saturday, in a race that attracted 42 participants—12 of them women—under the theme “Moving together for the fun of it.’ There are no divisions and no One Mile category for this series that has three races on Tortola and one on Virgin Gorda. Rosmond Johnson was the first woman in 15:41.
“I’m really surprised to win,” Lynch, who recorded a time of 11 minutes and 58.64 seconds—the only runner under 12 minutes—told Island Sun Sports. “I thought Croal (Jelani) would have been challenging me. It was just motivation, so I kept going. I took the lead about half a mile going up and then I just continued with my pace. I took my mind off the race and just kept running.”
Lynch said his training has been going well and when asked about everyone chasing him in the next race he said: “That’s actually what I want them do—chase after me. I just have to keep going.”
Race Director Stephanie Russ Penn, said it’s always a joy to kick off the series and even though it wasn’t in the usual fashion, it was still a great day. She noted there’ll be three races on Tortola and a special one for a cause on Virgin Gorda.
“Race one was just 2 miles—without categories or divisions—we still have to consider mass gathering protocols and so it was a really nice turnout, not a very big turnout, but a good start,” she said. “The time was great and I’m looking forward to seeing persons coming out to the next one on Oct 9.”
Penn described Lynch’s victory as ‘awesome’ saying when you see the youngsters coming out and being strong at a young age, it’s only an indication of what they could achieve going forward.
“I’m really happy for Jonathan and the performance he had today,” she said. “I’m really proud of him and doing a good job coming from Fast Lane Track Club.”
The Race Director said there was a good range in age of participants from the younger end to the older end. The majority, she noted, was from their teens into their early 30s, which is good because the series doesn’t always see a lot of that subset, usually more 30-60.
Zebalon McLean—who was in the inaugural race on Oct 19, 1996 and Jim Cullimore who has been participating from 1997, were among the participants.
“The range was excellent and it was a good range of males and females,” Penn noted. “So, it was nice.”
Another 2 Mile race is scheduled for Oct 9, and anyone can participate, while the 2nd Elite Relay Exchange is set for Oct 30. Any combination of 3 person teams will run 2 Mile legs. Teams must register prior to the event.
“This year, everything is just for fun and the theme is ‘Moving together just for the fun of it,’” she said. “One other exciting thing about race three is we should have intermixed in there is the battle of the service clubs, so I’m also excited about that team category that has been so successful over the years. A little birdie told me that the Rotary Club of Tortola is going to get dethroned, so that’s going to be an exciting one to watch and see.”
The series will end in Virgin Gorda with the race for a cause, for diabetes awareness as well as a memorial for former HLSCC employee Vanessa Rhymer, an integral fixture in the series there. The race will be run in conjunction with the Virgin Gorda Road Runners and the Valley Sound Lions Club.