Estwanik runs double distance and still wins
Husband and wife Chris and Ashley Estwanik won the men's and women's title in yesterday's 36th Fairmont to Fairmont race in the absence of defending champions Lamont Marshall and Deon Breary.
Chris, who won four straight titles between 2008 and 2011, was a comfortable winner in 37 minutes and 46 seconds over the 7.2 mile course, almost two minutes ahead of second place Stephen Allen (39.28) while past multiple winner Jay Donawa was third overall in 40.11, three seconds faster than Marshall's winning time a year ago.
Ashley was tenth overall and first female finisher in 44.21 while Rose-Anna Hoey was the second female and 13th overall in 44.39.
And while it was pleasing to add another Fairmont title to their collection, the top running pair said they used the race as a preparation for upcoming events, including this month’s International Race Weekend when they will compete in the half-marathon and the Boston Marathon in April.
Miles were so important to Chris that he actually ran from Southampton to Hamilton for the start of the race.
“We’re doing the Boston Marathon on April so we’re trying to get the strength in our legs,” said a still fresh looking Chris moments after completing the race.
“This morning I drove the car up here and ran back to the start and did about ten miles before the race started just to assimilate and so when the gun went off I would be assimilated at about the midway point of a marathon when you are just starting to hurt and are trying to push through it.
“That’s exactly what today was about and we’ll continue to to do things like that. I’ll do the half-marathon for International Race Weekend.”
The Estwaniks, along with many other locals, had their plans to run in the New York Marathon dashed by Hurricane Sandy, but looked to enjoy their first outing of the year yesterday.
“We have signed up for the Boston one, that’s the new target, so we had to take a little breather and that’s why we didn’t do the cross-country (championships)) or the Bacardi (race).”
“It’s just one more (marathon) for sure and after that we’ll see because it is a huge time commitment, versus training for something like the mile or even 5K,” said Chris.
Yesterday he set the early pace and had a lead of about 100 yards on Donawa and Allen at Crow Lane, a lead he stretched to 37 seconds over Donawa on Harbour Road at Keith Hall Road, with Allen was another 20 seconds back. In the end Estwanik beat Allen by a minute and 42 seconds, as Donawa finished a further 43 seconds behind in third, the first Masters finisher.
“It’s not as easy as it was five years ago. My New Year’s resolution is to just enjoy it,” said Estwanik who also has the May 24 half-marathon and Island Games in his plans for this year. “What I’ll probably do is go to the (Boston) marathon and then start cutting my mileage back and doing more speed again.”
Allen passed Donawa at Burnt House Hill on his way to second place. “My objective was to get sub-40 and I managed that and I’m happy,” said Allen who, like Donawa, worked overnight on his job.
“I knocked off at 4am, but it’s a new year and good to to get a race in with a good performance so I’m very happy.”
Donawa had his sights set on winning the Masters and getting in some training ahead of the upcoming Caribbean Cross-Country Championships in Jamaica later this month when he will represent Bermuda.
“I’ve been sick all week and in hindsight I kind of wish I didn’t run because I feel I may have suppressed myself too much,” said Donawa. “I’m going to take a few days off and recover a little bit.
“I targeted this race to prepare for it (cross-country) but this is not what I expected. As for Race Weekend I’m not going to do the mile and I don’t know if I want to do the 10K and then run a five mile cross-country race five days later.”
Spencer Butterfield and Evan Naude completed the top five finishers, Butterfield fourth in 40.51 and Naude in 40.44.
Ashley Estwanik overcame a challenge from Hoey to win the women’s division with a top ten finish.
“It’s actually a really tough race, I forgot how many hills are on Harbour Road and that Princess Hill (from Middle Road) is absolutely a killer,” said Estwanik who last won the race in 2008.
“I considered not doing the race because I don’t think I’m in the best shape I could be in but I know I have to start somewhere and knew if I raced today I would push myself harder than if I was by myself. Rose-Anna really gave me a run for my money, and I knew she would, she’s in fantastic shape, a fierce competitor and a great athlete.
“She and I were battling it out together and kind of working together on Harbour Road. It was a tough race but I’m glad I did it, I worked really hard.”
There were some 344 finishers in the senior race which also saw relay races for the second time.
Paul Dissington, Loryn Bell and Jamie Pooley, calling themselves Tr-Hard, won the mixed relay race in 56.23, while “One and a Half Men” (Tats Hoshina, Ben Howland and Kenyu Hoshina) won the men’s relay race in 47.08.
“Don’t You Wish You Did the Reay”, made up of Melissa Logie, Catherine Hay and Deanna Didyk, were the women’s relay winners, completing the course in 59.02.
Jahmari Sutton, Akim Johnston and Alex Pilgrim were the top three finishers in the shorter junior race, separated by just one second in an exciting finish. Sutton won in 9:11 while Johnston and Pilgrim finished in 9:12.
Full race results, see Page 18.