By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
St. Martin’s Cécilia Mobuchon chopped nearly five minutes off the 2-year old Ogier-Deloitte BVI Sunrise Half Marathon record on Saturday, when she dominated the field including the defending champion and record holder. Meanwhile, St. Lucia’s Michael Bissette buried his rivals for the overall victory in the 10thHalf Marathon of his career.
Returning from a foot injury that affected her training and kept her out of action till a month ago, Mobuchon, fourth overall, covered the 13thedition of the 13.1 miles two laps race between Road Town and Sea Cows Bay, in 1 hour 25 minutes and 40 seconds, after breaking away from the start. In the process she became the first woman to break 1:30, while demolishing St. Thomas’ Ruth Ann David’s 2016 mark of 1:30.21, and prevented David who was second in 1:37.15, from gaining her fifth title.
As it was her first Half Marathon of the year, the French woman told Island Sun Sports that she was very motivated for the race and the only thing was running alone became mental battle.
“All I could think about was go, go, go, because there was no one with me,” Mobuchon said. “I tried to catch the boys but they were very far from me. It’s not my fastest time. I have no training. Really, I broke the scaphoid bone in my left foot two months ago and I started training one month ago, so I said lets go, you will see what happens in the race.”
David was just happy to finish the race. She hadn’t been training as before and her work scheduled at the Ritz Carlton where she worked eight hours as a physical trainer changed after Hurricane Irma.
“I was happy to maintain a pace because I wanted to stop but I said I have to keep going and I can do all things through Christ Jesus, so I kept pushing myself,” David said. “I was even trying to motivate Shane (DeGannes) because I knew he was hurting too. It’s hard when you don’t train and I’m 45 years old. When you stop training when you’re older, it takes a while to get back to where you were before.”
Katrina Lindsay, third overall in 1:41.31, was the first BVI female finisher and said she was in awe of her amazing rivals and enjoyed the race.
“For me, it was a massive personal best,” she said. “I started slow on a 5K pace then I was able to pick it up, so I was really happy with how the race went.”
Just before the Road Town Ferry Dock, debutant Bissette, who ran with Clif Struiken, Julius Farley and DeGannes, crafted his move, then ran solo for just over 11 miles, to win in 1:19.49. Struiken followed in 1:20.51.
Bissette told Island Sun Sports that In the first two miles, he normally goes out and test to see what the guys have.
“When my coach saw the pace, he said ‘Michael, it’s time to make your move, go ahead about your business, keep the focus and maintain the pace,’” said Bissette in his 10thHalf Marathon, but only his first victory. “It was a nice flat course, the only challenge I had was the wind coming off the sea on the way back, but I managed to keep my focus and got the victory.”
Struiken, who has dominated local races between two and 6.2 miles this year, decided to hold off the pace when the St. Lucian took off.
“I thought that was going to be an early death for me so I just kept my pace, kept going and tried to gain some ground close to the end but couldn’t catch him,” Struiken said. “It’s my first Half Marathon and I did 1:20. Normally, I just take off but this time, I had to think about what I was going to do….I couldn’t keep up with the guy from St. Lucia but next year I’ll do some training and hopefully, I’ll be closer.”
Three time champ DeGannes said it was a tough race and described his performance as being “lack luster” adding he probably shouldn’t even have participated.
“The fourth place finish, I’m not too happy with that but with all the health ailments I’m going through right now, I got through the race,” he said. “There has been no training. Not many people know that I’ve just been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I had a procedure last week and another for next week. A lot of people told me not to come to this race, but I just really, really, really love this race so no matter what, I was going to come and put my best foot forward.”
Virgin Gorda’s Velma George who lives in New York and held the BVI Marathon record from 1993-2016, was running her first BVI Half Marathon.
“It’s an honor,” the 67 year old who completed the Nov 4 New York Marathon for the 21stMarathon of her career said. “I’m so humbled to be able to run distance in the BVI.”
Final results. Men: 1. Michael Bissette, 1 hour 19 minutes and 49 seconds. 2. Clif Struiken, 1:20.51. 3. Julius Farley, 1:24.40. 4. Shane DeGannes, 1:39.52. 5. Joceran GGichuke, 1:41.07. 6. Michael Khilloury, 1:41.53. 7. Colm Rafferty, 1:44.50. 8. Richard Hadley, 1:46.19. 9. Shaun Reardon-John, 1:49.14. 10:Jacques Roux, 1:49.45.
Women: Cécelia Mobuchon, 1:25.40. (New Record. Old Record, Ruth Ann David, 1:30.21., Dec 3, 2016)2. Ruth Ann David, 1:37.15. 3. Katrina Lindsay, 1:41.31. 4. Kim Struiken, 1:45.52. 5. Rosmond Johson, 1:48.45. 6. Maria Mays, 1:52.12. 7. Chole Harris, 1:55.58. 8. Rebecca Paul, 1:56.16. 9. Lauren Williams, 1:56.47. 10. Shuen Chai, 2:03.22.