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Estwanik proves a tough act to follow

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Out in front: Chris Estwanik runs along Harbour Road on his way to winning the first Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton Road Race. He completed the 7.2-mile event in 37min 11sec

Chris Estwanik and Deon Breary were the winners of the first Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton Road Race, setting formidable course records.

Estwanik, who has been taking a cautious approach to racing after suffering an Achilles injury last year, cruised to victory in 37min 11secs yesterday. That gave him a winning margin of just over five minutes.

Breary was almost as dominant in the women’s race, finishing in 47:04, a fraction over three minutes clear of her nearest rival.

The 7.2-mile road race was a refashioned version of the former Princess to Princess event that started in 1978, and which became known as the Fairmont to Fairmont Road Race in later years.

Organisers kept the distance the same. The only change to the course was in the first quarter of a mile as runners started near Union Square on Dundonald Street, running past the headquarters of Gosling’s before turning onto Cedar Avenue and then to Front Street.

From there it was the same route as it has been for the past 38 years, taking Harbour Road and Middle Road to the Fairmont Southampton and finishing at the Ocean Club.

Estwanik, 35, became the first to lift the Peter Lever Trophy, named in honour of the original race director and talented runner who died last March.

“I felt like it was a good race. The downhills hurt a bit, but when I was running on the flat it was fine,” said Estwanik, regarding his Achilles.

“I’m trying to be sensible and take it from day to day. Hopefully it will hold up. I want to keep in shape,” he added, explaining that maintaining a high level of performance means pushing the body close to the edge without going over it and getting injured.

“I want to do the best I can. The weather was great and the course is good, although there are hills.”

Although he has run a minute quicker on the old Fairmont to Fairmont course, he was pleased with his winning time. He is now looking to run the New York City half-marathon in March.

Spencer Butterfield was runner-up in 42:32. He also took part in the relay race, running the first leg for his team, as did third-placed Neil De Ste Croix.

The two ran together initially, but Butterfield pulled away in the latter stages and by the time he reached the half-mile hill leading up the Fairmont Southampton, he was on his own.

That meant he did not feel too much pressure as he tackled the race’s hardest section.

“I was well warmed up by then and I didn’t have anyone [in sight] ahead I could chase, and no one close behind,” he said.

De Ste Croix, 50, finished in 44:47, and was first senior master.

Women’s winner Breary, 45, said she went out aiming to run 6:40-minute miles, and bettered that by averaging 6:32 as she finished seventh overall. She won the Jim and Debbie Butterfield Trophy, named after two of Bermuda’s great long distance runners.

Breary’s nearest rival was Gayle Lindsay, who was sixteenth overall in 50:18. For much of the race there was a tight chasing pack of leading women, which included Lindsay and third-placed Kristi Dyer.

“Kristi was with me most of the way, but in the last part of the race I got away,” said Lindsay, 27.

Tackling the energy-sapping final hill she kept her focus on a number of runners ahead of her, which helped to keep her momentum going up the steep incline.

Third woman was Dyer in 50:39.

The race walk was won by Mike Watson in an impressive 1:11:55, ahead of Joseph Matthew in 1:20:19 and Robert Thomas in 1:20:21. The first woman was Rebecca Perry in 1:21:18, followed by Sheena Young in 1:28:23 and Gina Bradshaw in 1:29:35.

The junior 3K race was won by Quincy Kuzyk, 14, in 8:45, followed by Ryan Outerbridge, 13, in 8:50 and Tommy Marshall, 11, in 9:14. The first girl was Lynsey Palmer, 15, in 9:33, followed by Jessie Marshall, 13, in 9:59 and Holly Bruton, 13, in 9:59.

The men’s relay race was won by The De Ste Croix team in 44:38. The first women’s relay team were the Black Seals in 51:17, while the mixed relay team event was won by Beauty and the Beefcakes in 48:19.

Open road: Estwanik runs along Harbour Road on his way to winning the first Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton Road Race
Top woman: Deon Breary runs along Harbour Road. She was first woman in the Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton Road Race