Donawa and Fiddick victorious as runners show support for Boston Marathon bombing victims
High humidity and sunshine made the RMS Construction 20K and 10K road races the perfect pre-Bermuda Day Half Marathon test for around 200 runners.
Jay Donawa reigned in the longer race, scorching to an impressive victory in one hour 10 minutes and 45 seconds, while the fastest woman was former May 24 champion Victoria Fiddick in 1.28.16.
In the shorter race the honours went to Bermudian Olympian Tucker Murphy, who held on to a one second victory margin as he crossed the finish line in 35.45. The fastest woman in the 10K was Jeane Hofmeyr in 51.06.
The annual road race was held just six days after the twin bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. In a show of solidarity for those who died or were injured in the Boston tragedy, all 16 Island runners who took part in the US event also competed in the RMS race and wore their Boston jerseys and black ribbons.
Most, if not all of the competitors in the two races made a donation to the ‘One Fund’ for the Boston victims, and wore a black ribbon on their race vest of bib number in honour of those affected by the bombings. More than $2,000 has been raised as a result of the initiative.
The 20K road race started earlier than usual, setting off at 7.30am. Race founder Ricky Sousa explained that early start times for events in the US had inspired the decision, which he said also allowed competitors to enjoy more of their day once they had finished.
Donawa, who cruised to a clear victory in the 20K race, noted the high humidity and said the conditions presented a useful test for what to expect in the Appleby Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby next month.
“The whole object was to get a long race in and do 12.4 miles, which is just short of the half-marathon distance [13.1 miles],” he said.
The 40-year-old paced himself on the first of the two laps, going through 10K in under 35 minutes. He was pleased to have got his pace just right, as he noted the effects of the humidity and building heat of the day on the second lap.
“The weather was very similar to May 24. The humidity was an eye-opener. On the second lap I felt the effects, and though I was hoping to duplicate my first lap I pulled back a little.”
The former World Cross Country Championships athlete praised the black ribbon initiative and the show of support for the Boston victims, calling it “a brilliant idea”.
Women’s winner Victoria Fiddick also backed the black ribbons idea saying she hoped it showed that “something good can come out of something bad.” She was a lone figure leading the women’s event after Vivienne Lochhead, her nearest competitor, had to stop to re-tie a shoe lace in the second mile. Lochhead rejoined the race but opted for a more conservative pace. Fiddick won by a margin of just over four minutes.
In the 10K it was 2010 Winter Olympics athlete Tucker Murphy who had the measure of rival Christopher Harris to secure victory by one second. Harris had led the race for almost four miles before Murphy pulled alongside and the two battled to the finish.
Earlier in the race Murphy had run with eventual third-placer Ryan Wilson. He admited that in the final uphill sprint to the finish line he was “running scared” with Harris so close behind.
Most of the 16 Bermuda runners who competed in this year’s Boston Marathon ran together as a pack in the 10K to honour last Monday’s bombing victims. A few of the Boston veterans competed in the 20K, all of them wore black ribbons.
Rose-Anna Hoey, one of the Boston Marathon contingent, spend Friday evening preparing the black ribbons which were given to runners in exchange for a donation to help those affected by the bombings.
She said: “When I was watching the news [about the bombings] I thought about those ordinary people who had been affected.”
She felt the Island’s close-knit running community would offer support, and so it proved. However, Hoey admitted she was amazed by the level of support and she offered her thanks as she made a short announcement at the end of Sunday’s races.
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