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Sanchez Smith and Naomi MacGuinness revel in classic success

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Junior Heritage Classic Winners: Sanchez Smith, left, and Naomi MacGuinness (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Sanchez Smith and Naomi MacGuinness are still basking in the glory of victory in the 25th Heritage Day Junior Classic.

While the new course was described by the teenage runners as more difficult than last year’s route, Smith and MacGuinness both produced faster times than in 2023, with MacGuinness setting a record.

Smith stopped the clock in 11min 4sec, more than a minute faster than last year’s time of 12:18. Joseph Cechini finished runner-up at 11:37 with Tobiah Goodchild third in 11:43.

Not far behind Goodchild in fourth overall was 11-year-old MacGuinness, who continued to underline her dominance as a young middle-distance athlete, when she defended her girls title in 11:44, obliterating the record of 12:14 set by Kyrah Scraders in 2009 and matched by Selah Tuzo in 2015.

Smith, 13, won the 11-13 age group and was pleased to have improved enough to take the title this time around.

Sanchez Smith (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“Last year I just won in my age group and didn't win overall, so this year it felt really good winning overall,’’ Smith said.

“I looked at the time and this year I got a faster time than Khari Sharrieff last year, so I feel I would have still beaten him if he was there this year.

“This year’s course felt more difficult because the turnaround by the dump just felt like an extra little bit, it was hard.

“It’s an important race to me because I’m Bermudian. To win it just feels nice and with all the fans cheering you on, it just feels great.”

Naomi MacGuinness (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Smith is now targeting making Bermuda’s team for the Carifta Triathlon, Aquathlon and Mixed Team Relay Championship, which will be held in Barbados on August 17 and 18. Last year, he was the youngest member to travel to Nassau, Bahamas.

MacGuinness was pleased to be the new record holder for the girls at the third attempt. Las year, her time of 12:40 placed her tenth overall, a vast improvement from the 16:03 she recorded the year before, the first time she entered the race.

“It feels good and I knew about the record and wanted to break it,’’ MacGuinness said.

“It was really hot and the course was hilly, but I still ran fast. This year’s course was more difficult than the one last year but the training I did prepared me for the tough course.

“To run faster than some of the boys makes me really proud and I feel rewarded for my hard work.

“I like running this race because there’s a lot of people on the road cheering you on.”

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Published May 30, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated May 30, 2024 at 7:37 am)

Sanchez Smith and Naomi MacGuinness revel in classic success

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