Brown marks debut with surprise win
Dark horse Sarah Brown romped to an exciting victory in Saturday’s women’s 10K . . . her first race over that distance.
Brown, a more accomplished miler who was second in the elite women’s race at the KPMG Front Street Mile the night before, led home a strong female field to take the title vacated by the absent Rolanda Bell of Panama with a eighth-place finish overall in 35 minutes and 14 seconds.
Brown, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was quick to thank her husband, Darren, who paced her over the course and accompanied her across the finish line for a memorable debut win.
“It was great for me because I’m a miler and this isn’t my thing,” said Brown, 26, just moments after sprinting across the line at the National Sports Centre.
“I didn’t decide to run it until last night. I was right up there with the girls and I was like ‘all right, lets go for this’.”
Brown did not quite know what she was getting into with the hills and wind, but said she was pleased with her performance.
“That is a windy, hilly course, it’s the only 10K I’ve ever run so I can’t compare it to a lot, but I can say it is the best 10K I’ve ever run! It was hilly but beautiful,” said a smiling, near breathless Brown.
Brown’s time was a minute and 13 seconds faster than last year’s winning time posted by Bell.
“I think it was a good time, I’m happy with it,” she added. “I’ve never run a 10K so you can call it a PR. I’m really just trying to get the training in to get in shape because it is a world year for track. My husband Darren paced me through the whole thing so without him I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun.”
Brown was two places ahead of Russia’s Olga Romanova who crossed the line in 35.45, two minutes and two second ahead of last year’s third-place finisher Mardrea Hyman of Jamaica who had to settle for third again, 19th overall, in 37.47.
“My performance was not real good, it was a bad performance because I had the flu for one month and could not train,” said Romanova, 32, who was determined not to miss the trip to Bermuda. “It’s hard after the flu, with a lack of training. I’m just getting back but I’m glad I ran.
“The conditions were great for a race, excluding the wind, and it was a challenging course, but as an athlete you take on the challenge and everybody has to run the same course.
“The crowd was great, they motivate you all the way and even though it was challenging they make it feel easy by motivating you. I wasn’t aiming for any specific time, I just wanted to get in there and have a great race. I knew there were going to be some great competitors out there and I just wanted to set myself right among them and have a good race.”
Rose-Anna Hoey won the battle of the local females, finishing fifth among the women and 34th overall. Her time of 39.19 enabled her to finish six places ahead of Tamilka Williams who was 40th in 40:40.
“I set out with Tamika and we tried to work together and I did my best,” said Hoey who was aiming for a sub-40 minute race.
“My legs are a bit tight after the mile last (Friday) night so I tried not to sprint at the end as much as I could because I’m doing the half-marathon tomorrow. It was windy on the North Shore but it was kind of behind us which was quite nice and windy coming up the hill on Frog Lane where you could see the trees moving a little bit.
“It wasn’t too bad so you can’t really complain. It didn’t rain, although it is nice sometimes. I’m Irish so I’m used to the rain.”
Williams, who is using the races as a build-up to next weekend’s NACAC Cross-Country, was careful not to over extend herself after running the elite mile the night before. “I definitely tried to stay within myself today. I spoke to Jay Donawa (cross- country team-mate) and he suggested I didn’t run at all to save my legs. But I was sick early this week (flu) and felt I needed to get some distance running in. I could hardly walk Monday and Tuesday.
Williams found the conditions favourable, despite the wind. “Everyone is running in the same conditions and you can’t use that as an excuse,” she stressed.
“Today, actually, was a whole lot better than last year, I didn’t really feel the wind much on North Shore. It was a nice steady run, nothing distracting. I love the crowd and wish more people came out for the 10K. Those people who were out were awesome. It is a lot of fun and to hear you name, I feel so supported by the Bermuda community.”
Deon Breary, also recovering from illness, was the third local female finisher in 42:10. “I’ve recovered from an injury and just before Christmas I had the flu for two weeks,’ said Breary who was unable to defend her Fairmont to Fairmont title.
“I’m very pleased. I’ve only been doing 30 miles a week so I wasn’t training for this distance. Everything is healed and starting next week I can start my training.”