I was made to work for my victory, says Butterfield
Son of the soil Tyler Butterfield made winning a maiden Appleby Bermuda Day Half-Marathon Derby look all too easy.
However, according to the man himself victory in this year’s 13.1 mile road race was anything but the proverbial stroll in the park.
The 30-year-old athlete said he was forced to run out of his skin to remain in contention during the middle stages of the race before ultimately grabbing the lead and blowing the field away.
“I definitely went out faster than I normally do in the middle miles,” the professional triathlete said. “This is a lot faster than what I normally do and I had to slow down towards the end because my legs were starting to feel the pressure. My legs started feeling a bit tight running down Front Street and I was nervous about my leg cramping the last couple of miles.”
Butterfield, who is based in Boulder, Colorado, admitted he was alarmed when early pacesetter Jay Donawa broke away from the field.
“I was worried about Jay because he went out pretty quick,” he said. “Our times through the first three miles wasn’t too fast so I knew he was running a smart race as well.
“I tried to keep Jay in sight and didn’t want to give him too much time because he’s a good runner and you never want to underestimate your competition.”
At one stage Butterfield felt the battle for Chris Estwanik’s vacant title could come down to a two-horse race between himself and Donawa who eventually finished third.
“I saw him look over as I was trying to catch him and thought he might be waiting for me,” he said. “I thought once I caught him he would come with me and we would have a battle coming along Harbour Road and East Broadway.”
Butterfield took pole position for good shortly after crossing the seven-mile mark and ran unchallenged the rest of the way before hitting the tape at the Bernard Park finish line more than a minute ahead of second-placed runner Stephen Allen.
“When I went by (race leader Chayce Smith) I thought this is a bit quick but I just kept pushing,” said Butterfield, whose time of 1:15.03 was well outside of his personal best (1:11.01) in the May 24th Derby. “All in all it was a great day and it’s nice to finally win. It was a fun race.”
Butterfield was making his first appearance in the Derby in three years.
His mom, Debbie, won seven women’s titles in the annual event between 1977 and 1987.
The two-time Olympian is bidding to qualify for October’s Kona Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
Earlier this year he finished third at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon and tenth at the Ironman in Melbourne, Australia.
Next month will see Butterfield rest his Tokio Millennium Re Triathlon title on the line.