It’s Butterfield again
Tyler Butterfield retained his Appleby Bermuda Half Marathon Derby title today, knocking almost four minutes off his winning time in 2013.
The Bermuda Male Athlete of the Year completed the 13.1-mile course in 1hr 11min 18sec, well ahead of last year’s time when he sealed his maiden victory.
“I pushed as hard as I could but I enjoyed the day, still,” said Butterfield, a professional triathlete based out of Boulder, Colorado. Again he proved a popular winner, going over to the spectators and slapping hands with them before breaking the tape.
“I went out a little quick but I wanted to test it today. This year I wanted to push the pace from the beginning because I’ve got races after this and last year didn’t have many races when I left Bermuda.”
Butterfield built up a comfortable lead early in the race and led all the way as he went through the eight-mile mark on Harbour Road in 42:44 before passing the ten-mile mark in 53:51 on his way to Front Street in one hour.
It was just a matter of hanging on after that as large crowds cheered him on towards the finish line. Chayce Smith finished second in 1:15.25 and Stephen Allen, last year’s runner up, third in 1:15.46.
“For me I just love the crowd — you are going to win some races and lose some races — but it is always great to be in the lead when the crowd supports you, but the crowd supports everyone,” said Butterfield, who turned to cheer on his brother Spencer as he crossed the line in 21st. “He had strep throat all week,” Tyler revealed.
It was a good day for the Butterfield family as cousin Ashley Estwanik reclaimed the women’s title she lost last year, the same title Tyler’s mom Debbie won on seven occasions in the Seventies and Eighties.
“I’ve never done a race that comes close to this, the Olympics would be the only one that comes close to a crowd like this,” said Butterfield, who will remain on the Island for two more weeks to compete in the Tokio Millennium Re triathlon which he won last year.
Spencer had praise for his younger brother in his second victory. “I only saw about 15 or 20 seconds of him,” Spencer revealed.
“I’m very proud of him, he’s running very well. I hear he was 20 seconds off a personal best. There were lots of beautiful people on the course and thank you for everybody’s encouragement in getting us home.”
Dehydration caused Smith to pull out of last year’s race, when he ran against the advice of his doctor. This year he ran a strong race to finish second, four minutes behind Butterfield.
“I wasn’t that pleased with the time, I feel Tyler had a good game plan going into the race and by him running out fast it made the whole field speed up, whereas it was something I probably didn’t want to do as I’m not a true distance runner,” said Smith who quickly lost sight of Butterfield.
“I just heard people say he’s three minutes in front of me, then two minutes and thirty seconds, then two minutes and twenty, so I was bringing him in but he was still running fast enough to put me into trouble just trying to catch him. It was a good race, I was looking for about a 1:12, I ran a 1:14 by myself three weeks ago.”
Allen ran a personal best as he completed the top three, finishing 21 seconds behind Smith and one place below last year’s second spot, though faster than the 1:17 he posted in 2013.
“Today was wonderful, the spectators were wonderful as usual. Although I came second last year the time is better, the position not better, but you have to give thanks for the time,” said Allen. “I feel much stronger and at the end I had a sprint, so it was good.”
With Butterfield a couple of minutes ahead, Allen and Smith were involved in a battle for the second spot.
“Maybe the first three miles I was ahead and he caught me and pushed ahead, then I started seeing him on Harbour Road,” Allen said.
Juma Mouchette had to run through the pain to finish the race, though he was down on his sixth place finish last year.
“Coming out of Somerset my left foot just got numb and every time I stepped I just got a tingling feeling,” said Mouchette, who came 31st in 1:30.10.
“I don’t know how I got it, but I was determined to finish, I’ll never quit no matter what happens. It was difficult to quit on the crowd, I just wanted to get to Front Street to see my family.
“I’ve been training for track season, not half-marathon. This is the longest I’ve run this season.”