Kampf repeats as Elite Women’s winner
Heather Kampf repeated as winner of the KPMG Invitational Bermuda Women’s Elite Mile as Sarah Brown finished second yet again in a thrilling finish that saw the two Americans separated by just two seconds in times that were faster than last year.
Kampf broke the tape in four minutes, 44.89 seconds, five seconds faster than her 2013 winning time of 4:49 while Brown was just a few strides behind in second place as she shaved four seconds off her time year, clocking 4:46.16. Newcomer Lauren Hagans made it three Americans on the podium, finishing in third in 4:53.14.
Just five runners competed in the race, with Bermuda’s only competitor, Tamika Williams finishing fourth in 5:10.34, a disappointing time for her as she was looking to shave seven seconds off last year’s finish and run a sub-five minute mile.
The crowd cheered loudly for Williams as she came towards the finish line, unable to keep up with the faster, younger Americans. Lillian Mariita, of Kenya, whose times suggests she is more of a distance runner, completed the finishers in 5:24.38. All five runners will be back in action this morning in the 10K race. Kampf is starting to make a habit of celebrating her birthday in a special way in Bermuda as last year she won on her 26th. Today she turns 27.
“I feel great, it was really fun to be out here again and I felt a little more familiar and excited about coming back to try to defend my title,” said Kampf of Minnesota.
The race between last year’s top developed at the final turn as the race picked up coming towards the finish line, Kampf leading and Brown close behind.
“The last quarter I did feel fast,” Kampf admitted. “I chose to stay with the race for the first half, until we turned the corner and then I just started feeling really good and thought rather than wait and see how this races comes out I’m going to make it the way I want it to look and really just went for it.
“Usually, what I tell athletes that I coach is you need to trust that feeling, when you feel a little antsy and you know you have more, to give it your all to the very end.”
Kampf is already looking forward to another birthday in Bermuda next year as she goes for a third straight triumph.
“I hope to, it is glorious here, I just came from really cold weather at home so to be able to run in what I’m wearing right now is a blessing in itself and the crowd is amazing,” she said. “It’s an awesome Island and I love it here.”
Brown will be hoping history repeats itself when she heads to the starting line for the 10K this morning. She won the first 10K she ever ran last year. The 27-year-old is a more accomplished miler but could not close the gap between herself and Kampf last night.
“Yeah, you definitely go into every race trying to win, so it’s disappointing, but the race was a ‘rust-buster’, a good start and a beautiful place,” said Brown of Knoxville, Tennessee.
“Anything faster than last year is good, it’s a tough course with the turns so you never expect anything super fast but it was good competition and that pushed it a little bit quicker this year. The weather is beautiful and I hope it is beautiful like this tomorrow.”