Mourant College Classic Series kicks off with special edition race

Zebulon McLean, left, and Jim Cullimore have competed in the Mourant College Classic Series for 24 and 22 years respectively. McLean ran in the inaugural race on Oct 19, 1996 and Cullimore joined the series in 1998

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Twenty six participants on Saturday,  kicked off the 25th Anniversary Mourant College Classic Series Special Edition in Paraquita Bay, with Colm Rafferty leading the way in 12 minutes and 29 seconds. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only 30 persons were invited to the race that marked the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College’s 30th anniversary. 

“Today was just really very inspirational in general. I can say it was a bit weird to be at the Paraquita Bay race and not have the large numbers we usually do,” Race Director Stephanie Russ Penn told Island Sun Sports. “But when I stood at the start line and I really reflected on the representation over the years and the representation across ages, from the young ones to the 70 year olds, for me, it was a great start for what we’re trying to make a special 25th anniversary of the race series.”

Zebalon McLean who has competed in 24 of the 25 years of the series including the first race on October 19, 1996 and Jim Cullimore who joined the series in 1998, said they have competed in more races than anyone, they were planning on doing something and didn’t want COVID to end the streak. COVID he said shouldn’t stop things like health, fun and participating with a group of persons even if you have to be six feet apart. 

“The College Classic Series has been a part of our lives for so many years and it’s for people to get out there and do something,” said McLean who has only missed eight races—the 2004 series when he was in college; two races in 2019 and once when he was too ill to run. “The beauty of the College Classic Series is it’s only 2 Miles. So it’s not long enough to kill you, but short enough to be enjoyed and everybody can participate, so I did enjoy this morning.”

Cullimore who did the run with McLean said it was fabulous and the race is part of the BVI and something they couldn’t give up. They talked and enjoyed the moment together. 

Rafferty said it was a tough race for the first time in six months after the Hautteville 5K Series was called off in March after two races and the Ceres Juices 10K Series was canceled because of COVID-19. “It’s good to be back,” he said. “I think I could have gone a bit quicker but I’m pretty happy. But they took off like a 100m sprint and I had to play catch up after that because they tired at the end.”

Defending champion Katrina “Kat” Lindsay was second in 12:46, said it was nice to shake off the cobwebs.

“it was nice to have a race again and it wasn’t super fast for me, but I’m pleased given it was the first race since a long time,” Lindsay noted as she has done some training. “I’ve been getting back into it. I haven’t been doing much of the speed stuff like I was doing last year so I wasn’t expecting to come out and run a super fast time.”

The series continues on Saturday on Virgin Gorda, starting at 7 a.m. at the HLSCC Campus in The Valley. On Oct 31 will be the battle of the service clubs on Tortola before the second race on Virgin Gorda on Nov 7. The series ends on Nov 14 with the elite exchange, an invitational only relay event, where each runner will cover 2 Miles. 

Final results. 1. Colm Rafferty, 12:29.87. 2. Katrina Lindsay, 12:46.83 3. Jaden Augustine, 13:07.79.  4. Jonathan Lynch, 13:16.08. 5. Rashawn Jack, 14:21.12. 6. Kendi Brewley, 14:32.40.  7. Sam Potgieter, 15:07.06.  8. Adrian Dale, 15:10.25.  9. Charlie Potgieter, 15:42.55.  10. Lia Claxton, 16:15.42.  11. Othniel Gillings. 12. Jelani Croal.  13. Kay Reddy, 17:12.25. 14.  A’Keela McMaster, 17:28.47.  15. Jah’Kyla Morton, 17:54.65. 16. A’Sia McMaster, 18:49.83. 17. Darwn Peters, 18:53.65. 18. Johannes Blok, 19:03.94.  19. Garfield Neita, 19:38.15.  20. Anna Kinkead, 20:40.05.  21. Jim Cullimore. 22. Zebalon McLean.  23.  Shirley Liburd.  24. Jaheem-Lennard-Joseph.  25. Karl Dawson.  26. Marian Blok.