Marshall cruises to third title
Lamont Marshall romped to another impressive victory as he retained his Bermuda Half Marathon Derby title yesterday.
Marshall clocked a time of 1hr 11min 38sec on the route from St George’s to claim his third May 24 title in four years and the first coming out of the East End.
The time was 8½ minutes faster than Jay Donawa’s winning time of 1:20:08 on the same course two years ago.
Marshall finished just over three minutes ahead of Sean Trott, who had to settle for a second successive runner-up finish after clocking 1:14:58.
Sammy DeGraff finished just over a minute behind Trott in 1:16:13 in third place.
James O’Shea, who finished in 1:18:26, and Spencer Butterfield, who crossed the line in 1:20:08, completed the top five.
“I felt the weather was good; I tried to win the race early so I could relax,” said Marshall, 34.
“It was hard after, say, Flatts Hill, but I was pleased with the overall time as I have never broken 1:12, which was a fast time for me.”
Marshall took up the challenge from the start and was happy to set the pace coming out of St George’s. He opened up a comfortable lead after reaching Crawl Hill around 30 minutes and held on to the lead.
“The crowd was talking to me, so I never looked back,” he said. “I figured after maybe five miles that I was on a really good pace. The crowd was giving me feedback to say I was all alone.
“I was just trying to maintain and not fade too bad. I retained the title, which was the main goal.
“I went out kind of aggressive, so I didn’t want to totally die. I was pleased with the way I handled the hills.”
Trott had to settle for another second place. “I lost sight of Lamont somewhere around the four-mile point, around Grotto Bay,” Trott said.
“I can look at it two ways, obviously I was going in looking for the victory, but I also took about five minutes off last year. I’m steadily picking time off, so I can look at it as progress.
“Early on Chayse [Smith] was there with me so we were working together. After five miles he was gone.
“I just had to get mentally into it and keep pushing. I could feel Sammy DeGraff coming up and saw him just before the big hill [in Devonshire] just to make sure no one would come back on me.
“I felt a little flat early on, but as the race went on it worked its way out. I then hit a rough patch with stomach cramps in the middle but managed to work that off.
“This is definitely more of a rhythm course where you can settle in for long stretches, whereas from Somerset you have the hills to break up the rhythm. I like this one for the rhythm and there is nothing like Front Street and Cedar Avenue.”
DeGraff, 38, was pleased with his podium finish, steadily improving on the last two years when he placed nineteenth in 2017, from St George’s, and tenth last year.
“I missed out on the time I was trying to get, but overall, with the course and the conditions, I felt comfortable,” said the former North Village and Bermuda footballer.
“I wasn’t sure exactly where I was at in training but knew I was in the 1:15 to 1:18 range.
“I got 1:16, so I was pleased with that. I wasn’t thinking about placings so much. I just wanted to improve on the time I had in the Bermuda Marathon Weekend.
“I really wasn’t trying to focus on anybody else, although when you see someone in front of you, you try to pull them in. Sean’s a good friend of mine; I’m happy for him.
“We pushed one another to do our best. I’m starting to enjoy running now.
“With this race, the main race of the year, it is one you look forward to and try to prepare for.”
Cal Steede, a stalwart in the race like Stanley Burgess, Ed Sherlock and Ray Swan, was running in his 29th Bermuda Day race.
“I admired them coming up and I’m glad that I’m still able to compete in this race,” said Steede, who turned 60 last month and is looking forward to his 30th race next year.
“This would have been my 30th, but I had pancreatic surgery about ten years ago and had to sit it out.
“The people who come out to support us are phenomenal and I thank them for their support; it makes a big difference.
“I just wanted to get under the two-hour mark because I haven’t been able to train as I would like to. I did 1:53 so I’m happy with that.”
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