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Williams honours memory of great uncle

Tamika Williams paid tribute to running legend Stanley Burgess after claiming women's honours in a race honouring her great uncle's legacy.

Williams conquered the women's field for the first time in yesterday's “Sir Stanley” Burgess 5K road race, finishing sixth overall after crossing the finish line at Devonshire Recreation Club in 19min 35sec.

The late Burgess is Bermuda's most celebrated Bermuda Half Marathon Derby champion who racked up 11 wins between 1926 and 1951. His victories were split between the traditional May 24 Derby race and an alternate “breakaway” race held on the same day between 1926 and 1943.

He became popularly known as “Sir Stanley” in honour of his racing achievements and longevity as a competitor.

Burgess competed in races for more than half a century, beginning in 1921 when he was 20. His final race was in 1983 — a year before his death — when he was 84.

After leading the women's field across the line, Williams, 35, spoke fondly of her relative's remarkable legacy.

“I grew up understanding his talent and work ethic and the fact that he got to a certain age and they told him he could not run any more,” said Williams, a former Nike Farm Team middle-distance runner.

“So for me, the whole idea of just going beyond those limits that people set upon you — whether it be age or whatever you are dealing with as an adult — you can still try something and still do well at it, as long as you are disciplined about your routine.

“That's the message for me and the thing I always remember whenever I am honouring my great uncle and whenever I am racing and training.”

Although he was never knighted, Burgess was awarded the Queen's Certificate and Badge of Honour in 1971.

As for her impressive time, Williams said: “I am very happy with that time. I have been training on the track for the 1,500 metres so to go under 20 minutes is exciting.

“I am just excited to be able to run the 5K and not die at the end like I usually do.”

Laura Wright, who crossed the line in 19:55, and Jodi Benloulou, who came home in 22:38, rounded off the women's podium.

Claiming men's honours this year was Christopher Harris, who romped to victory in 16:34 to improve upon last year's second-place finish.

“I am very pleased with my time, which is good as an old man like me is going to do,” the 44-year-old said. “It went smooth and I felt very relaxed and the conditions were great. It was cool and we had a little bit of a tailwind on the way back.

“It is certainly a privilege to be a part of this race. We had a great turnout and just a good all-round atmosphere.”

Yesterday's triumph was the Montpelier Re president and chief executive officer's second win of the season after his victory in last month's RMS Construction 10K race.

“I have been lucky, I guess,” Harris added.

Ronae Burgess finished second in the men's field in 18:11. Third place went to Chefton Hall who covered the distance in 18:24.

Fitting tribute: Williams and her boyfriend Jose Miranda head towards the finish line together at the end of the “Sir Stanley” Burgess 5K road race yesterday

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Published May 05, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated May 05, 2014 at 9:07 am)

Williams honours memory of great uncle

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