Mark Stephenson, Johanna Murphy crowned BVI Steelman champions

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Mark Stephenson checks his watch, then went on to win the 2021 Steelman Triathlon title

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Mark Stephenson didn’t let a bad hamstring slow him from winning his first BVI Steelman title, while Johanna Murphy successfully defended her crown and beat her 2019 course record by three minutes, in the Olympic Distance event held Sunday on Beef Island, organized by the BVI Triathlon Federation.

Stephenson covered the 1.5K Swim, 40K bike and 10K run in 2 hours 37 minutes and 44 seconds. Murphy was timed in 2:45.58.

“I really didn’t have any expectations today because three days ago, I pulled my hamstring and I thought that’s it, there’s no way I’d be able to do this,” Stephenson told Island Sun Sports. “I’ve been hobbling around for the last couple days, icing and elevating. I just woke up this morning and though I can give it a try so I came out, did the best I could without pushing myself too hard because I didn’t want to pull anything. I guess it was good enough to keep going and I felt pretty good after. No real pain.”

Reminded he’s now the BVI Steelman, Stephenson said he doesn’t know about that, but it felt good to finish, get a good time and he enjoyed it and will definitely be out some more and might do the 70.2 on June 13.

He considers the run the strongest segment of a triathlon. “But with my leg the way it is, I was just dogging it on the run. I had to keep a basic average pace,” he noted. “The good news is, the swim I was able to power through with that, it didn’t bother my leg. The bike, I felt strong so I guess it averaged out.”

Murphy said because she hadn’t been doing much training, she tried to go steady and she’s pleased with how it went. “The swim was quite choppy, the bike was quite windy and eh run was pretty hot, but I think I managed to stay at my pace and I’m happy,” Murphy told Island Sun Sports, noting she didn’t have any time in mind. “Because of Covid, we haven’t been doing events, so it’s hard to know how you’re going to do if you haven’t been training as much, so I’m pleased just to finish.”

She said this has set her up for next month’s 70.2, but she’s nervous thinking about it, but it’s good practice. “I’m hoping I can do that in 6 hours maybe,  so this was a good tune up as I did it in 2 hrs 45, so we’ll see.”

Former Triathlon Federation President Anthony Spencer, said Murphy improved her 2019 performance and Stephenson was an “unknown quantity” because he had been running and running.

“We didn’t know he could swim and ride a bike and he showed tremendous determination and speed and dominated the event from the beginning actually,” Spencer noted. “We’re really looking forward to seeing more of him.”

Murphy who replaced Spencer as President, said that she and secretary Aaron Gardner, organized the event, the first under her presidency. 

“We are so pleased at how many people have turned out—it’s awesome,” she said. “Some events, it’s just a little group of us, so I can’t believe how many people are here today. We had 15 bikes. It’s awesome.”

Final results. Men: 1. Mark Stephenson, 2 hours 37 minutes and 44 seconds. 2. Justin Smit, 2:56.45. 3. Daniel Mitchell, 3:01.42. 4. Shane Donovan, 3:06.26. 5. Aaron Gardner, 3:25.36. Phillippe Leroy, DNF.

Women: 1 .Johanna Murphy, 2:45.58. 2. Kay Reddy, 3:28.28. 

Teams: Anthony Spencer, Swim; Gareth Thomas, Bike, Sarah Latham, Run, 2:26.48. 2. Natasha Ruscheinski, Craig Allan and  Ruscheinski, 2:34.10. 3. Sam Talbot, Talbot, Haley White, 2:38.31. 4. Johanna Murphy, Jason Du Plessis, Jason Du Plessis, 2:40.31. 5. Louise Wearmouth, Grant Carrol, Sarah Carrol, 2:53.43. 6. Charlotte Davis, Greg O’Keefe-Davis, Greg O’Keefe-Davis, 2:56.09. 7. Jules Potgieter, Jules Potgieter, Emma Anstock, 2:57.33. 8. Adrian Cpacaneu, Chris Smith, Barbara Smith, 3:00.32. 9. Adrian Dale, Reuben Stoby, Reuben Stoby, 3:03.59. 10. Patlian Johnson, Clifton “Tito” Forbes, Vanessa King, 3:04.40.   

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