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Competition and camaraderie spur on couples

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David and Jennifer Gazzard are all smiles as they race the Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby together

Every couple has that special something they like to whisper in each other’s ear.

For Vivienne Lochhead and Chris Cabral that sweet nothing might be “eat my dust”.

When they hit the Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby ever year they are serious competitors.

The Royal Gazette recently spoke to the couple and two others about what it’s like to run the half-marathon together every year.

We quickly learnt that “together” means blowing each other a kiss goodbye at the start line. There was no running hand in hand over the finish line for these runners.

It was all about beating each other and gaining bragging rights at the dinner table.

Here’s more about running the half-marathon as a couple:

Chris Cabral wasn’t running when he married Vivienne Lochhead in 2006.

The 39-year-old fisheries warden ran in high school but stopped when he broke his leg in a cycle accident.

Ms Lochhead on the other hand had been running since she was 12. “He was always teasing me about running,” said Ms Lochhead, 43.

One day she made him put his money where his mouth was. She bet him a nice dinner that he couldn’t beat her in her next race, the Lindos to Lindos 5K. He beat her and after the race she shelled out for dinner at Waterlot.

But after that he was hooked on running again. Since then, they have run the half-marathon derby “together” several times. “We are serious competitors,” she said. “Sometimes we see each other during the race, sometimes we don’t.”

Once a week they go to the track and run together as their date night.

They have two sons, Rogan, 7, and Caelan, 4, so it is not always easy finding the time to run together.

Mrs Lochhead ran one half-marathon derby while expecting Caelan. “I ran with three other ladies,” said Ms Lochhead. “We called ourselves Mummies with Tummies.”

In 2012, they ran the race with their sons in jogging strollers borrowed from runners Chris and Ashley Estwanik.

“Obviously, it is different running the race like that because you are pushing something,” she said. “Around mile ten or 12 Caelan got hungry. I put him in a sling and breast fed him while walking miles ten to 12. That race was the most fun I have ever had.”

After the race, she and her husband’s mood usually depends on how well they did. “After the race, we usually try to keep the children entertained without having to do too much,” she said. “Usually, we go out in the boat afterward.”

She loves the camaraderie of the half-marathon derby.

“It is sometimes a pain because it sits over your head and sometimes you don’t want to run,” she said. “But the support that you get means it’s an amazing race. Everyone should experience if they can run even if it is just to do it in the relay.”

This year the couple are running with Team Hope to raise money for summer camp programmes for students at the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy.

Steve and Carolyn Conway never felt like real runners until the first time they did the Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby together.

They’d been running for several years, but always felt like Sunday joggers.

“We started running 30 years ago mostly to lose weight,” said Mrs Conway.

“All the other runners we met talked about the derby,” she said. “It is the big event in the Bermuda runners’ calendar.”

They decided to experience the race themselves, but the first time they ran it they were woefully under prepared.

“A week before the derby, we ran seven miles around Harrington Sound and thought we were ready,” said the 57-year-old schoolteacher. “We weren’t but the enthusiasm of the crowd just carried us along. We were smiling because we were grimacing.”

The next year they made sure to practice much more. Unfortunately, it didn’t improve their time much.

“Our time has stayed steady for the years,” she said. “We’ve always been mid pack.

When they part they have something special at stake ­­­­­— the laundry. Whichever Conway crosses the finish line last has to do the laundry for a month.

Mrs Conway didn’t want to say which one of usually ends up stuffing the washer.

“Everyone seems to know about it,” said Mrs Conway. “When I’m running people from the side lines will be yelling, ‘Steve is ahead’ or ‘Steve is behind you’.

“Running together is cheaper than marriage counselling. You can’t go on a long training run and not have your life sorted when you finish.”

She said they’ve got to know a real cross section of the community through their running.

“If you don’t run, people will say what has happened?” she said. “You feel you know everyone.”

After the race the Conways like to go for a swim. Mr Conway, a surveyor, turned 60 in January.

The couple celebrated by taking part in the Triple Challenge in St George.

This year, the Conways plan to run only a small part of the derby as Mrs Conway sprained her ankle a short time ago. They also plan to do it with friends Dawn and Kavin Smith.

“Kavin has run for years,” said Mrs Conway. “He is a top runner and we were at the back of the pack. He used to cross the finish line and then run back to find us and encourage us on.”

Jennifer Gazzard caught running fever after watching her husband David doing it for several years.

“I loved the excitement,” she said. “With Dave’s help and training I ran my first race in 2011 and he ran by my side. It was the 10k for International Race Weekend. Since then, we have run a handful of half-marathons and one full marathon.

Running has kept us in shape and has become something we work at together as a team.”

Mr Gazzard is 43 and senior vice-president at Aon and Mrs Gazzard, 34, is an assistant underwriter at Markel.

This year will be her third derby and his 12th.

The couple are very active and try to run several times a week when they are not working out at the gym.

“Training together has for sure brought us closer together,” she said. “Training for the derby together took a lot of time and commitment. It meant supporting each other through injury and encouragement. Dave always tells me how proud he is of me and the feeling is mutual. Without his encouragement I probably would not have stuck with it as long as I have. He’s my best friend and always knows the right things to say if I’m feeling defeated.”

These days though they don’t always run together. Mr Gazzard is faster and Mrs Gazzard feels guilty about holding him back.

“I’m glad we ran May 24 once together,” she said. “We had a great time but May 24 is Dave’s favourite race and I enjoy seeing how well he does.”

After the race they enjoy a long shower and rest.

“By late afternoon we slide off the couch and if the weather is good we’ll go out for a paddle and put our legs in the salt water,” she said.

Chris Cabral and Vivienne Lochhead spur each other on