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Chris Estwanik fends off Sean Trott to win RenaissanceRe 10-Mile Challenge

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Back to win it: Chris Estwanik just after crossing the finish line to win the RenaissanceRe 10-Mile Challenge (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

Chris Estwanik’s last-minute decision to enter the RenaissanceRe 10-Mile Challenge paid off as he held off strong competition from 2023 winner Sean Trott to win the race for the eighth time.

Estwanik, winner of the race on seven previous occasions, including the last time he participated in 2019, crossed the finish line at Botanical Gardens in 54 min 56sec, slower than the 53:08 he achieved when last successful five years ago.

For Estwanik, an underwriter at RenaissanceRe, the choice on the day was between running and volunteering, and the 44-year-old settled for what he knows best.

“I actually work at RenaissanceRe, so I felt it was my duty to come and be a part of a company event, which is great,’’ Estwanik told The Royal Gazette.

Sean Trott, right, finished second in the RenaissanceRe 10-Mile Challenge (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

“I didn't sign up to volunteer so I figured out why not sign up to race. The decision was made just yesterday [Saturday] and I figured I could go out and have fun.”

The top two runners were neck and neck for the better part of the race with Trott, the island’s most dominant long-distance runner this year, claiming the runner-up spot 24 seconds behind Estwanik.

“I knew Sean was in good shape,” Estwanik said.

“I tried to cue off from him and remember how to do this because it’s been a long time since I ran such a long distance.

“The first three miles were tough,as I was still trying to find my rhythm. The humidity was actually worse than I realised, but it was a beautiful course and a beautiful day to run.

“I faced a little bit of a headwind at various parts, but other than that, it was spectacular conditions out here.

Chris Estwanik, left, and Sean Trott embrace each other after crossing the finish line in the RenaissanceRe 10-Mile Challenge (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

With three miles to go, Estwanik made the crucial break for home.

“Sean and I were together from halfway out and then through about seven miles, we were still together,” Estwanik said.

“I then put in a little surge just to see if my body could handle increasing the pace a little bit. I slowed up on the hill after Spittal Pond and that was the last big hill.

“Sean hung in there with me all the time, which was great. It was a fun way to do battle and he’s such a class act.

“He’s been so great for the running scene here, so it’s great to see him run faster than last year.

Estwanik’s time of 50:37 in 2010 still remains the race record more than a decade later.

“No record was in sight today, I was five minutes slower than that,” he added. “It was pretty much survival and hopefully be able to finish strong, which was the goal.”

An eight-times Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby winner, Estwanik is not angling for a return to the race he dominated over the years.

“I've no commitments and I don’t think it’s going to happen,’’ Estwanik said.

“That would require me to put in more training. This is a stretch, if I do jump it'll just be for fun, but right now I have no plans to run.”

Trott was pleased to shed more than a minute from his finishing time last year.

“I’m definitely happy even though I came second because I took a whole minute and six seconds off last year’s time,’’ Trott said.

“Running that much quicker, I’m definitely happy with it and I don't mind coming second in that type of race.

“I felt I was racing him pretty well and over the first seven miles I was in the lead quite a bit. I was putting in different moves to see if I could break away but even though he got away after seven miles, the last three miles were actually still my quickest.

“I felt happy with how strong I was able to close the gap despite him pulling away.

“Last year, at the seven-mile mark of the same race I fell apart a bit. The last three miles were my slowest and this year my last three miles were my quickest. I think it’s a good sign that the training is going well. I just have to fine tune a few things in the last few weeks before May 24.”

Adam Prunty, who finished third in 58:30, felt lonely for the better part of the race, viewing the top two from a distance.

“It was a tough race and it was quite hot,’’ Prunty said. “I probably went out a little hard and suffered a bit on the way back.

“I ran most of the race on my own and I’m reasonably happy with the time. It’s good training for May 24 and I’m hoping to have a good race there. This was a good test.”

Christine Dailey was the first woman across the finish line (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

Christine Dailey was the first female across the line, with her time of 1:05:26 placing her twelfth overall and, unlike Estwank, she is relishing the Half-Marathon Derby.

“I'm really excited for that one and it looks like there’s really good competition this year, so it'll be really a good race,’’ Dailey said.

“I was third last year and I've been floating between second and third place and had babies in between. I'm going to give it a good go for sure, but there will be a lot of women gunning for it I think.”

Christine Dailey, right, with Kristen Robinson (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

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Published April 15, 2024 at 12:27 pm (Updated April 15, 2024 at 12:27 pm)

Chris Estwanik fends off Sean Trott to win RenaissanceRe 10-Mile Challenge

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