By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
On a new course, a new record is expected Saturday during a showdown between the top distance runners from Antigua and Barbuda, St. Thomas, St. Martin and the BVI, in the 13thOgier-Deloitte BVI Sunrise Half Marathon.
Runners will race over a looped course starting at 6 a.m., from the Tortola Sports Club in Pasea, meandering to the turnaround in Manuel Reef, for two laps of the 13.1 miles footrace.
“Twenty 18 is the recovery BVI Sunrise Half Marathon,” race director Kay Reddy said. “After Irma last year, 65 people just got up and ran the course which showed how much the race is in demand. The aim is to make the Ogier-Deloitte BVI Sunrise Half marathon a premier race in the territory with increase in numbers and sport tourism, the race also attracts regional elite and is fast in the front and fun in the pack.”
Reddy added: “Hopefully over 125 people will register for this year’s race including several Corporate Cup and Teams. This year the Corporate Challenge is set to be competitive as are both the individual male and female events.”
Final registration which costs $70, will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. on Friday at the Tortola Sports Club.
After tearing up the local road racing scene and establishing records during the 2 Miles, 5K and 10K races, Clif Struiken, said he’s looking forward to his debut.
“I can’t wait to race the guys from Antigua, St. Thomas and the BVI talent this Saturday,” he said.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Kalique St. Jean who was second in the 2016 race, is returning. The 19 year-old said he’s looking for a personal best on Saturday.
“In 2016, that race was my first half, but I ran 1 hour 20,” he noted. “At that time, my personal best in the 5K was 16 minutes and 20 seconds and now it’s 15:30. I’m looking to breaking 1:20. My training has been going very well.”
St. Thomas’ Shane DeGannes saw his 3-peat streak snapped in 2016 when he finished third behind Grenada’s Renon Raddix and St. Jean.
“I’m looking forward to competing on Tortola,” DeGannes who’s not looking at time said. “My training this year has been a bit different so I’m just concentrating on what I have to do.”
In the Women’s Division, in her last outing in 2016, St. Thomas’ Ruth Ann David improved her own course record of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 46 seconds by 25 seconds when she stopped the clock at 1:30.21.
“I’ve won it four times and looking for a fifth,” David said. “I can’t wait to get to Tortola to run the BVI Half Marathon and also see all my friends.”
Virgin Gorda’s Velma George who has been living in New York and held the BVI Marathon record between 1993 and 2016, will compete in her first road race in the territory. She’s coming off running in the New York City Marathon, which was the 21stoverall Marathon she has completed in her storied career.
Current BVI Marathon record holder Anna Kinkead is also expected to toe the line on Saturday.