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Hoey: I’m still in shock

Newly crowned May 24 Derby champion Rose-Anna Hoey is still in shock of her achievement, 48 hours after her triumph.

Hoey stole the crown from defending champion Ashley Estwanik in emphatic fashion, crossing the line three minutes ahead of her training partner.

While she was still enjoying the moment, the hospital employee admitted to not knowing what was going in the race until the crowd roared her through the streets of Hamilton.

“I am still shocked by the win, and I kept checking behind me to see if Ashley was there, but also to be reassured that she was OK,” said Hoey. “I was doing it so much that my friend and fellow Irishman Barry Murphy who I ran with for a while, kept telling me to look ahead of me not to look behind, that all was OK and to get on with my own race.

“I did notice on Harbour Road that I had extended my lead and it was really when I hit the crowds on Crow Lane and Front Street that I realised that this could be my day.

“It was then that I relaxed, started to smile and tried to enjoy the rest of this special race.

“I didn't think that the margin would be extended to three minutes. I always felt that Ashley would not be too far behind. She's such a strong athlete, who is capable of much faster than 1:25.37 and I felt that anything could happen. I just tried to run my own race.”

Downplaying the ‘Queen of the Roads’ title, the 31-year-old admitted to telling people at the start line in Somerset that she expected Ashley to win the race, with someone calling her the next ‘Jay Donawa’.

The 40-year-old Donawa finished third and has been runner-up on numerous occasions but never won.

Being called that was fine by her, as she noted that local runners such as Donawa should be role models for younger athletes for their hard work and dedication to their sport for years.

“I am not naive enough to think of myself as queen of anything by winning one race, albeit an important one like May 24th. The reason why the Estwaniks are red hot favourites in every race they enter is because they do not rest on their laurels and they put in the hard work consistently.

“In fact, before the race when I told someone I felt I would come second again this year they remarked that I would become the 'next Jay Donawa', to which I replied 'I would be more than proud to be the next Jay Donawa'. He has consistently put in so many strong performances over so many years and comes back every year pushing and fighting now that's a true runner's spirit.

“I think we runners who are somewhat in the public eye should act as leaders, and lead by example by supporting and mentoring other runners. I had a group of co-workers from KEMH who trained with me since January and completed the relay, and I'm very proud of them.

“I will, however, graciously accept the title of 'Queen for the Day', and let's face it who doesn't want to be queen for the day.”

Next up for Hoey is the NatWest Island Games in July.

“I am hoping to be selected for the Games and look forward to training with Ashley again for that. After that I'll rest for a bit in August and mix in a bit of yoga, swimming and cycling. In October I will start to build my strength and speed by partaking in the BNAA Cross-Country Races.

“I would strongly encourage other road runners to take part in these races. They are a great way to get a tempo run in over fun, challenging terrain, and I believe they set you up well for the rest of the season.”

Photo by Akil Simmons May 24 female champion Rose-Anna Hoey heads towards Hamilton on the way to claim her first Derby victory.

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Published May 27, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm)

Hoey: I’m still in shock

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