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Estwanik eyes Olympic bid

Podium finish: Estwanik

Chris Estwanik put aside recent injuries to finish a creditable third in yesterday’s Rite Aide Cleveland Marathon in Ohio yesterday.

Estwanik, 35 and a 1998 graduate of Dublin Coffman High School just outside of Columbus but now a resident of Bermuda, ran proudly with “Bermuda” across his T-shirt as he finished in 2hr, 21min, 32sec in humid conditions with intermittent rain.

It was a good workout for Estwanik who will be the favourite in next Monday’s Appleby Bermuda Half Marathon Derby, as he makes his return after missing the 2013 and 2014 races because of injury.

The race was only Estwanik’s third marathon and yesterday he revealed he hopes to compete in the Olympic marathon. His previous marathons were in Virginia Beach and then the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“I’ve had some injuries, so this is my first big race in about two years,” Estwanik told the Cleveland News Herald. “I faded a little bit in the second half, but I think everybody did.”

Like everyone else who crossed the finish line, Estwanik pointed to the humidity as an issue, though he is somewhat used to it from living in Bermuda.

“I train in that,” Estwanik said. “Bermuda is 85-to-90 per cent humidity, very hilly and hot.

“I hoped it would be like last year when we had 60 per cent humidity and 60 degrees. But as soon as I woke up, I knew time was out the window.”

Abraham Chelanga of Kenya and Tatiana Arysova of Russia won the men’s and women’s titles, with Chelanga pushing the pace early, gambling his training would lead him to victory. It did, as he held a three-plus minute advantage over last year’s winner Philip Lagat, another Kenyan.

Chelanga finished the 26.2 mile jaunt in 2:16:19, well ahead of Lagat who ran a 2:19:40, and Estwanik. Arysova won the women’s title in a time of 2:35:48.

Chelanga and Arysova each won $3,000 and collected an additional $3,000 bonus for finishing under 2:20.00 and 2:40.00, respectively.

“This is my first time,” Chelanga said. He was not just referring to winning the Cleveland marathon but winning a marathon, period.

The 30-year-old Chelanga only arrived in Cleveland on Friday and didn’t even drive the course.

“It’s a miracle to me,” he said, noting that with the temperature and humidity, which hovered in the high 60s and mid 80s, would make it a tough race for him. Even so, he still went out fast from the start.

Second-place finisher and defending champion Lagat, 32, said Chelanga separated himself from everyone else around the eight-mile mark.

“The first six miles were crazy,” Lagat said of the pace. “I was like, ‘Oh man, this is fast.’ I’m not disappointed. A race is a race. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.”