By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
For 20 years, no one came within shouting distance of disturbing the 10 minutes and 45.3 seconds time laid down by Lyndel Roberts on November 20, 1997 for the Mourant HLSCC College Classic Series record.
Then Clif Struiken assaulted the mark three times in 2018, settling for 10:30.96 in the last race.
In his last outing, Neil Riley came within .32 seconds of Struiken’s mark, when he stopped the clock at 10:31.32.
On Saturday, Riley became the series fastest man and was joined by Katrina “Kat” Lindsay as the fastest woman, as they established course records—the first time men and women’s records have been established in the same race in its 24-year history—when he ran 10 minutes 26.56 seconds to eclipse Struiken’s year old 10:30.96 by 4.40 seconds. Lindsay became the 1st woman breaking the 12 minutes barrier, when she shattered Meriel Stedman’s eight-year old mark of 12:09.11 from 2011, with a scintillating 11:51.69 run.
“Going into the race today, there was a bit of pressure as I was looking at maybe breaking the record and if it came together on the day, then I had it in the bag,” Riley said. “Woke up this morning, saw the course was wet and I know it gets quite greasy and slippery out there when it’s a bit wet, so I wasn’t a 100% sure it was going to happen but luckily, I pushed hard and pulled it out the bag by four seconds, which was pretty pleasing for me today, certainly.”
Riley said he has been better at pacing and taking the hill and his finish has gotten stronger.
“I’m feeling just as bad with 200m to go but I’m able to pick it up and put in that little burst at the end, which is worth about that four seconds,” he said referring to the old mark. “Another year to the next series and another year of training hopefully in the bag and I’m hoping to come back with a sub ten.”
Jelani Coral outkicked Reuben Stoby 11:47.03-11:48.05 in second place behind Riley.
Lindsay said it was amazing getting the record, but she was beginning to think the record was out of reach after mustering only 12:23.81, in her last race two weeks ago.
“I would have settled with 12:10 or 12:11, but I would have been gutted to be so close but, I would have been happy. I’m so delighted and well done to Neil too because he has a phenomenal run,” she said. “I went for it on the hill more than I did last time and I’d been training on the hills since the last time just to get the strength and it’s made a big difference. I saw my splits when we started coming down the hills and I was ahead of my target pace and I could see Reuben (Stoby) closer to me than he usually is, so I focused on trying to keep with him and got a better than expected time, I’m so happy.”
A fast One Mile race in which Ty’Rique Charles bested Othniel Gillings and Charlie Potigeter for the first time, winning he Boys race in 7:03.05, preluded the record setting day. Gillings finished in 7:04.54 and Potgieter in 7:05.15. Chelsea Edwards was the Girls winner in 8:12.68. She was followed by Millie Cotreau in 9:12.68.
Race Director Stephanie Russ Penn said it was a ‘tremendous finish’ to the 2019 series on Tortola.
“Generally, it was a really fast race, there was awesome participation in all the groups and we awarded all our champions in every category,” she noted. “Congratulations to all our participants. A big thanks to Mourant for partnering with us and making it such an awesome series.”
The curtains will come down on the 24th edition Saturday on Virgin Gorda at the HLSCC Center in the Valley. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m., with the race convening at 7:00 a.m. An award ceremony follows the race.
Following are the 2019 award recipients on Tortola, based on competing in three of four races);
Overall Male: 1. Neil Riley (New Record: 10 minutes 26.56 seconds), 2. Jelani Croal, 3. Derek Rawlings.
Overall Female: 1. Katrina Lindsay (NR: 11:51.69), 2. Rosmond Johnson, 3. Jessica Broderick
Overall One Mile Male: 1. Othniel Gillings, 2. Charlie Potgieter, 3. Ty’rique Charles
Overall One Mile Female: 1. Chelsea Edwards, 2. Millie Cottreau, 3. Sofia Chilton.
U9 (One mile) Male: 1. George Clifton, 2. Henry Clifton. 3. Joe Potgieter
U9 (One mile) Female: 1. D’Nae Forbes, 2. Eshanna Shaheed
U11 Male (One mile): 1. Othniel Gillings, 2. Charlie Potgieter, 3. Ty’rique Charles
U11 Female (One Mile): 1. Chelsea Edwards, 2. Millie Cottreau, 3. Sofia Chilton
U13 Female: 1. Jah’kyla Morton, 2. Asia McMaster. 3. Shannia Johnson
U15 Boys: 1. Jonathan Lynch
U15 Female: 1. Akeela McMaster, 2. Martha Killourhy
U17 Male: 1. Jelani Coral, 2. Rashawn Jack, 3. Jaden Augustine
20-29 Male: 1. TC Frett.
20-29 Female: 1. Kennisha Powell. 2. Shakera Fahie
30-39 Male: 1. Neil Riley. 2. Alric Smith
30-39 Female: 1. Katrina Lindsay, 2. Cate Barbour. 3. Tamara Cameron, 4. Sarah Carroll
40-49 Male: 1. Joseph Ivor. 2. Iain Tucker. 3. Claudius Rhymer.
40-49 Female: 1. Rosmond Johnson, 2. Jessica Broderick.
50-59 Male: 1. Derek Rawlings, 2. Zebalon McLean.
50-59 Female: 1. Kay Reddy, 2. Janet Oliver
60-69 Male: 1. Adrian Dale, 2. Garfield Neita
60-69 Female: 1. Shirley Liburd.
70+ Male: 1. Jim Cullimore.
Primary: 1. Joyce Samuel Primary
Secondary: 1: Cedar International School
Service Clubs: 1. Rotary of Tortola (14th consecutive), 2. Rotaract. 3. Rotary of Road Town
Community Partners: 1. Purple Dragon Karate, 2. Joyce Samuel PTA, 3. HLSCC.
Outstanding Male Primary: Latriel Williams (Althea Scatliffe Primary).
Outstanding Female Primary: M’Kenzii Crabbe (Joyce Samuel Primary).
Outstanding Male Secondary: Sam Potgeiter (Cedar International School).
Outstanding Female Secondary: Ashley Brockbank (Cedar International School).
Outstanding Male Service Club: Reuben Stoby (Rotary of Tortola; NR: 11:46.92)
Outstanding Female Service Club: Tuneisha Johnson (Rotaract Club).
Outstanding Male Community Partners: Lennon Dabreo (Purple Dragon Karate).
Outstanding Female Community Partners: Lenette Lewis (HLSCC).