By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Sam Thompson and Natasha ”Tash” Ruscheinski, emerged as surprised winners of Saturday’s KPMG Tortola Torture FU Covid edition. Thompson, the top individual finisher of 15 males who started, covered the 54Km (33.4 miles) race in 6 hours, 11 minutes and 37 seconds.
“What? No way,” was Ruscheinski’s response, when told on Brewers Bay Hill that she was leading the Women’s field of seven during the grueling race in the heat and humidity, as she went on to win in 7:07.49.
“I did not expect to win at all for a second,” Thompson, who arrived in the territory six weeks ago told Island Sun Sports, noting that it was hot and humid. “I was very fortunate to do it this year, because I would be nowhere near any of this. Some of the times (from previous years) are ridiculous. I have absolutely no idea how they get those, so I’m very fortunate.”
Thompson said the last 10-15Km were the hardest part. He checked his watch often, but it got slow and demoralizing after a while.
“I walked a lot of the last probably third, I was thinking they too were walking as well,” he said. “So, we were all in the same boat.”
Surprised to win the women’s division, Ruscheinski said she wasn’t the fastest person on the course, comparing it to a hare and tortoise and she was the tortoise. “But I’ll take it though,” she told Island Sun Sports. “I felt very good today. I’ve been doing much more training than normal, but I felt good.”
Ruscheinski said she struggled on the hill out of Brewers Bay and from Little Mountain to the Trellis Bay finish. The last part she noted was very hot, but when she crossed the finish line, it was a good feeling.
“I would have liked to have one of those banners that I could have run through,” she said. “Because I’ll never win an event again, so I’m super happy.”
In winning the 2-Man division with the day’s fastest time of 5:17,15, Paul Mellor said that Jermaine “JJ” Ricketts, gave him a great start over the first 16+ miles of the course.
“And after that, my aim was to get to the top of Brewers (Bay) as quick as possible, as early as possible so I spent as little as possible in the hot sun and it seemed to work,” he said. “The hardest part was probably Little Mountain. I do Brewers Bay in my training all the time and I felt comfortable.”
Race Director Richard Morgan, told Island Sun Sports that the event went “incredibly well.” He said the support from sponsors has been amazing, the aid stations were fantastic and the runners put in some good times considering the humidity at the 5 a.m. start.
“Everyone went out fast today and I think, regretted it and had to recover on the hills,” he told Island Sun Sports. “I don’t think everyone expected it to be so hot that early, because normally in the morning, it’s nice and cool and you can run fast. Today wasn’t the case. It was hot from the start, but it’s been an amazing day and everyone put so much effort into it, it’s been fantastic.”
While several overseas persons were unable to make it because of the quarantine restrictions, Morgan was happy to have Puerto Rican runner Blas Vega in the mix.
“We were amazed by the turnout this year, considering everything that happened with Covid, lockdown and everything else, it’s really impressive to see so many people turn out for the event,” he said. “So next year, hopefully, we’re going to get bigger.”
Final Results. Men: 1. Sam Thompson, 6 hrs 11 minutes and 37.2 seconds. 2. Justin Smit, 6:29:26. 3. Toni Bonzon, 6:57:46. 4. Mike Killhoury, 7:46:09. 5. Ray Wearmouth, 8:00:47.
6. Blas J Vega, 8:15:59. 7. Owen Prew, 8:48:09. 8. Matt Freeman. 9:14:44. 9. Dennis Versoza, 9:44:36. 10. Shane Donovan, 10:02:25. DNF: Daniel Mitchell, Philippe Leroy, Aaron Gardner,
Murray Laing and Andrew Gilliland.
Women: 1. Natasha Ruscheinski, 7:07:49. 2. Caroline Sorrentino, 7:33:28. 3. Victoria Waterfield, 7:33:28. 4. Rosmond Johnson, 8:05:54. 5. Tracy Jackson, 8:34:02. 6. Jane Tyrrell, 8:34:02. DNF:
Johanna Murphy and Tilly Bruce.
Two Man Team: 1. Paul and JJ (Paul Mellor, Jermaine “JJ” Ricketts), 5:17:15. 2. Nelson (Phil Nelson, Matthew Nelson), 6:22:40. Three Man Team: 1. Maybees (Derek Rawlings, Ian Tucker, Debbie Bell) 5:49:09. 2. Chafing the Dream. (Christian Fay, Lizanne Havenga, Chris Farmer) 6:32:20. 3. SAG (Anna Kinkead, Gabriel Obrogon, Sergio Dantas), 6:41:12. 4. Tortola Tortoises (Chris Pease, Sarah Carroll, Hanna Perkins), 6:43:31. 5. Team CAK (Claudius Rymer, Adiran Dale, Kay Reddy), 7:21:08. 6. The Running-Kruger Effect (Greg O’Keefe-Davis, Natalie Bundy, Dave Matthews), 7:28:31.