Local runners make island proud
Local runners stamped their authority on the Bermuda Marathon Weekend half-marathon with Tyler Butterfield and Dennis Mbelenzi leading the charge with outstanding podium displays.
Professional triathlete Butterfield finished runner-up in a time of 1min 11.36sec behind Suleman Shifa, of Ethiopia, who finished in 1:10:58. Mbelenzi placed third with a personal best time of 1:16.34.
Also making the island proud were Sean Trott (1:17:50), Sammy DeGraff, the former Bermuda footballer (1:18:36) and Butterfield’s sibling Spencer (1:21:52), who placed fourth, fifth and seventh respectively.
“This is just so awesome and I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen from the Bermuda participation,” said Donna Raynor, the Bermuda National Athletics Association president. “It just shows that running in Bermuda is still up there with the top sports.”
Late entry Tyler Butterfield capped a solid weekend, having finished second to Shifa in the 10K, by winning the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge comfortably.” “I said the Triangle Challenge is as hard as the marathon and I was hurting today,” Butterfield said.
“The first mile definitely hurt because you’re warming up from the mile and the 10K and then at mile nine and ten you start to feel the mile and the 10K come back at you.
“It was pleasure to run with him [Shifa]. He gave me tips at the end and that’s always helpful as I’m new to running. I’ve been doing triathlon for a long time, but it’s always great to get tips from the best runners.”
Mbelenzi was thrilled with his podium finish after obliterating his personal best. “When I looked at the start list and saw the professionals I figured a top five was gone so my target remained to go for a PB,” Mbelenzi said.
“My PB was 1:18, so I had hoped to crack 1:17 and see what happens. But I set the pace a little faster and held on and I’m more than happy to better my PB by close to two minutes.”
New York resident Shifa capped a memorable Bermuda Marathon Weekend debut by winning the half-marathon comfortably.
“I came here with my confidence high and it’s been a good weekend for me,” said Shifa, who placed third in the Front Street Mile Elite Men’s race.
“It was good running together with Tyler. We talked as we ran together and I gave him some advice after the race. He’s strong and is also a very good guy.”
Meseret Basa won the women’s title in 1:19:33 to complete Ethiopia’s clean sweep in the men’s and women’s divisions.
“It feels good to win again and I’m so happy,” said Basa, who also claimed the 10K women’s title.”
Cecilia Mobuchon, of France, (1:23:05) and Heather Kampf, of the United States, (1:26:25) finished second and third, respectively.
“I’m very happy because I broke my PB by more than one minute,” Mobuchon said.
Kampf, who won the Front Street Mile women’s race for a fifth time on Friday, added: “It makes me feel really happy to start my season here and gain some confidence. This is a place where I carry a lot of great memories.”
Rose-Anna Hoey (1:28:28) was the first local woman, with Deon Breary (1:30:12) second and Karen Smith (1:34:24) third.
“I felt like my training deserved a better run, but it is what it is and you take what the day gives you,” Hoey said.
Breary added: “I was looking to run around 1:30 and I’m happy with that; I can’t complain.”
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