By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Tied at two victories a piece between them over the course of the series, it came down to Saturday’s Blenheim Trust 5K Series finale to see if Reuben Stoby would 3-peat as champion, or, if Clif Struiken would win his third straight race in the series.
In the end, Struiken dethroned Stoby when he won the series finale, dubbed the City Circuit, which started and ended at the A. O. Shirley Grounds, with a trek around the eastern end of Road Town.
Struiken led from start to finish to win in 17 minutes and 43.08 seconds, his third successive win over Stoby, who followed in 18:21.04. Julius Farley placed third in 18:37.98 as the only runners under 19:00 minutes.
“I wanted to run a really strong time and with that a win, but for me today, a very strong time was very important and that’s why I didn’t run a tactical race, but kept a steady pace,” explained Struiken who was tied with Stoby at 2-2 in victories. “I didn’t really bother with the opponents I just ran my own race today, just go strong and get a strong time. The 17:43 was the strongest run of my season and I hope to come back next year. This was the first race of the season for me that was entirely flat so I was expecting a faster time, but I’m happy I executed it as well.”
It’s a race Stoby said he really wanted to win.
“I was quite ready to relinquish my title but, I knew it was going to be a tough journey,” Stoby stated, noting that leading up to the race, he completed the first leg of the Tortola Torture, followed by competing the the Blenheim Trust 5K in Paraquita Bay, did back to back 10Ks in Virgin Gorda and just last week, completed the Virgin Gorda Half Marathon. “I did pick up a little bit of a calf strain so I wasn’t sure how strong I was going to be. I always knew Cliff was going to come with the fresh legs, but I always come to give it my best and I can say that I gave it 101% today. I wanted to hold today, not to go too fast, and he took out the pace faster than he usually does, so that definitely worked against me.”
Katrina Lindsay was the top woman covering the course in 22 minutes and 15.30 seconds. Kim Struiken was second in 23:23.23 and was followed by Rosmond Johnson in 24:47.51.
“It was slow. I was looking for something in the low 20s,” Lindsay said. “It was an okay race but I actually prefer when there’s hills in the race because I don’t mind the climb up the hills and coming down on the other side. The flat one is just constant and and you run on one pace which I think is harder to do.”