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Allen and Donawa cross line in unison

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Photograph by Akil SimmonsTeam work: Allen, left, and Donawa, decided to cross the finish line together. The pair ran side by side for almost the entirety of the 13.1-mile race

Local runners Stephen Allen and Jay Donawa decided to share the glory in the Bermuda Half Marathon after crossing the finish line together yesterday.

In the absence of any elite runners, Allen and Donawa ran side by side for almost the entirety of the 13.1 miles, with Donawa helping push Allen to a personal best time of 1hr 12min and 33sec.

In a show of heartwarming solidarity, the pair held hands as they approached the final straight, drawing a round of applause of the spectators gathering on Front Street, only breaking their union moments before reaching the tape, with Allen declared the winner.

“We pretty much worked together as there weren’t any elite half-marathon runners to push us,” Donawa, 42, said.

“We had to help each other and I was actually able to pull Stephen to a personal best time. I think somewhere along the way I went through a bad patch and having him there gave me a lift. If I’d been by myself I would have backed off.

“In the end we decided to [finish together]. If it had been a straight sprint he would have walked me down!”

For Allen, 34, it proved to be a Bermuda Race Weekend to remember, having won the Local Male KPMG Front Street Mile on Friday night.

“I doesn’t really matter about the winning,” Allen said. “We both did well and ran together from start to finish, working as a team.

“I was great to get a PB and I always look forward to this event.

“I won the Local Front Street Mile, had a PB and two victories — it’s been a really good Race Weekend for me.”

Bryan Huberty, of Miami, followed on from his Fairmont to Fairmont Road Race win last weekend with a third-place finish in the half-marathon.

Huberty, who finished in a time of 1:14.47, said that he was determined not to relinquish his podium position after forcing his way into third place by the third-mile mark.

“To run a 1:14.47 after racing hard yesterday and Friday is really pleasing,” said Huberty, who also won the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge.

“Jay and Stephen were doing a different pace than I knew I should be doing. I didn’t want my legs to blow up as I was still feeling it from the 10K.

“Once I got that third place established I thought ‘I’m not giving this up’. Someone was going to have to break my legs to take that off me.”

The 36-year-old, who last week delivered seminars at The Fairmont Southampton Hotel about the benefits of Chi running, which aims to make runners more efficient and injury-free through good posture, said he was taken aback by the support of the crowd.

“I think my favourite part has been the crowd,” he said. “A lot of people knew me because of racing last weekend and from the seminars.

“I think I had about 30 people say ‘nice job Bryan, go Bryan’, it’s a very welcoming country.”

The American, who broke his pelvis a few months ago after tripping on a rock as he ran downhill, hopes to become a regular on the local running scene, given that his girlfriend Gresny Quintero, of Cuba, moved to the Island in November.

Elite runner Heather Kampf, of the United States, completed a trio of Bermuda Race Weekend victories after finishing as the first woman yesterday in 1:18.05.

“I’ve only ran two half-marathons before and it was really fun,” she said. “It’s a course that keeps things interesting and all you have to do is look right or left and know that you’re surrounded by God’s beauty.”

The 27-year-old ran alongside fellow United States elite runner, Lauren Hagans-Pacquette, until the ten-mile mark when she was able to forge ahead.

“I think [Lauren] had something going on with her foot and had a pretty tough moment, so I said ‘good job’ and just kept on going.”