Estwanik and Hoey enjoy winning feeling
Chris Estwanik and Rose-Anna Hoey made winning returns to the long-distance racing scene after lengthy absences, winning the men’s and women’s titles, respectively, at the RenaissanceRe 10-Mile Challenge yesterday.
Estwanik had not raced ten miles or longer locally since winning the Bermuda Day Half-Marathon Derby in 2015, while Hoey had not raced at any distance since winning the Gosling’s to Fairmount Southampton race in January.
However, both showed plenty of confidence taking commanding leads in the out-and-back race yesterday along South Road, from the Lagoon property opposite the Botanical Gardens, to the fringe of Tucker’s Town.
Estwanik, 39, had a goal in mind of 5:20 minute-mile pace. He achieved that to comfortably win in 53min 8sec.
During the past year, injuries and recovery have curtailed his competitive appearances to occasional 5K outings. He was pleased with his performance over a much longer distance.
“I haven’t run this far and this hard for years. I felt the wind against us a little on the way out and thought if I could get to the halfway at around 5:20 pace I could see what would happen on the way back and hope to survive and hopefully get a bit of wind helping,” he said.
“It was fun. It was nice to be back on a beautiful day, Easter Sunday.”
Estwanik has been training relatively consistently for the past month, running five or six days per week.
“I haven’t been able to do that for years. The psychology of it is learning to endure the pain again. Everyone who is a runner knows you have to push yourself to that level, when the pain starts to come; you have to practice that. I still remembered how to do it, so I was able to get to another level today — that was fine.”
When asked if he would compete in next month’s Bermuda Day half-marathon, the six-times champion said: “It is in the back of my mind. I’m travelling, but if I can stay healthy in the next few weeks, and there is a chance to move my travel by a day and make it happen.”
In the meantime, he is excited about a 10K race in his home town, back in Ohio, in August. He has circled that date on his calendar.
“That’s where it all started and where I grew up, and it will be fun,” he said. However, most of all, he is satisfied simply to be taking part in events again. “It’s nice to be back. To be healthy for the first time in three or four years is just such a blessing.”
Finishing second was Sean Trott in 57:38, ahead of Tom Mills in 61:04.
In the women’s division, Hoey, 37, was never headed as she raced to victory in 65:51.
She said: “I was very sick during January race weekend and could not race. I feel like I’m six weeks behind [in training], but I’m pleased with how it went today.”
With an eye on the Bermuda Day half-marathon, she said: “The conditions today are similar to what we might expect in a few weeks’ time. To hold a 6:35 pace right now, on top of a week’s training, I’m pretty happy with that.”
Although she is behind where she would like to be with her training build-up to May 24, the 2013 champion, said: “I’m going to give it a good shot this year from St George’s.”
Second in the women’s race was Martina Olcheski-Bell in 69:09, followed by Laura Graham in 72:17.
Among the competitors was visiting cruise ship passenger Karen O’Brien, from Maryland, who found out about the race on the internet. She and her husband, Pat, rode a livery bike from Dockyard to the start line, where she entered the event and won the senior masters’ division in 1:38:14.
Afterwards she said: “The biggest thing was getting transportation as the ferries didn’t run early enough, nor the buses. We ended up renting a scooter, and it worked out.”
Although she is a keen runner, this was the first time she had combined a race with a vacation.
She said: “I loved it. It was a bit warm.” She said Bermuda was gorgeous, adding: “The waters here are beautiful. We are looking forward to going to find a beach.”
In the five-mile race held in conjunction with the longer race, Tucker Murphy lifted the title after clocking 30:10. Murphy had Tim Price for company on most of the outward leg, but after the turnaround point he found another gear to shake off his nearest rival.
Price, who ran a commendable 2:53 in Monday’s Boston Marathon, had been feeling slightly under the weather and switched from the ten-mile event to the shorter distance shortly before the races started. He comfortably held second place in 31:58, ahead of Oslo Blackburne in 33:24.
Among the women, the fastest was Libby Brewin in 35:23, ahead of Tammy Faulkenberry in 38:30, and Jennifer Wilson in 39:36.
The top three in the competitive five-mile walk were Gina Bradshaw in 63:03, Gilda Cann in 66:47 and Britt Reiss in 70:24.