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Allen focused on improving time

Stephen Allen has yet to figure out a way to win the Appleby Bermuda Half Marathon Derby.

But if last year's solid display is anything to go by, he is not too far off the mark.

The 33-year-old Jamaican finished runner up to winner Tyler Butterfield, his impressive time of 1hr 16min 59sec being the fastest that he has run in the annual event.

His goal for 2014?

Naturally, to go one better and claim the winner's purse and all of the other perks that go with winning the prestigious race.

But as Allen has discovered over the years, putting all the pieces together to win the May 24 race can be complicated.

“May 24 is a difficult race because of the hills, conditions, humidity and everybody is out,” Allen said. “Everybody is out so you have to run your own race and hope for the best.

“It is a race that you have to get the timing right and you need energy coming in town. The last two years I have started slow and as the race goes on I build up.

“I do not really worry about positions. If I can run the same time or better the position will take care of itself. Once the time improves your position will improve.”

Even though he is among the pre-race favourites, Allen, who is also a football referee, insists that professional triathlete Butterfield is the man to beat.

“Tyler won last year so he is the favourite and then you have Jay Donawa, as always, and Chayce Smith who seems to be in good shape.”

Asked what would it mean to him to win on Monday, Allen replied: “It will be a huge accomplishment to win this race. It is the biggest race in the Island with over a hundred years of history and for someone's name to be placed in that category has to be one of the biggest moments of running here.”

As for preparations, Allen, who hails from the Jamaican Parish of St Catherine, said: “After the football, I changed my training a bit. But everything is going well, it is only to perform on the day.”

Allen recorded a personal best in the HSBC Bermuda Half-Marathon in January, crossing the line in 1:12:59 — exactly four minutes faster than he ran in last year's May 24 race. It is an achievement that he keeps in perspective when comparing races.

“Race Weekend is in the winter; it is cool and not a lot of hills like May 24,” he said. “There is no humidity, so you can go hard and hold the pace.”

Stephen Allen

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Published May 23, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated May 23, 2014 at 1:18 am)

Allen focused on improving time

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