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Marshall finally breaks his duck

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Special moment: Marshall approaches the finish line (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Lamont Marshall won his first Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby title yesterday, joining older brother Larry as the first siblings to take overall honours in Bermuda’s biggest race.

Marshall ran on his own for virtually the whole race after breaking away from Trey Simons and Tyler Smith. In the absence of last year’s winner Chris Estwanik, Marshall seized the opportunity to savour victory, crossing the line in 1hr 13min 59sec, more than four minutes ahead of Simons in 1:18.25.

There was another 2½-minute wait before Evan Naude crossed the line in third in 1:21:00, with Chris Harris finishing fourth in 1:21:25, two minutes ahead of teenager Tyler Smith who made his debut last year.

Victory was sweet for Marshall, second last year, after only deciding to run in the race two weeks ago. He has been concentrating on track running, in particular the 3,000 metres steeplechase.

“My focus is on trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics,” Marshall, 31, said “I had a race planned for California but it was very costly and then had a back-up race in Trinidad that got cancelled. My second back-up race in Boston was a 10k and I didn’t really feel like doing that.”

Marshall has been running this race long enough to know what to expect. His win came on the day that twins Neil and Neville Virgil, who died within months of each other last year, were honoured for their contribution to Bermuda’s oldest road race, now 107 years old.

A new trophy was put up for the siblings who recorded the fastest combined time, which is sure to be awarded to the Marshalls with Lamont finishing in 1:13:59 as Larry, the 2007 winner, crossed the line ninth in a time of 1:28:43, a minute behind Ashley Estwanik, the women’s winner.

“I’ve run the race ten or 12 times, so I went out conservative and tried to pick it up in the middle and tried to maintain,” said Marshall, who admitted he did spend time looking over his shoulder to see the position of the next runners.

“That’s always a bad habit of mine, but what I lose in physical energy I gain psychologically from knowing where my competitors are. On Harbour Road, obviously you can’t because of all the turns, but I’m glad just to secure the victory. I knew if I kept working hard that it would eventually come.”

Marshall, like Simons and other winners before them, has a background in track and field.

“I was definitely most concerned about Trey Simons, I’ve trained with him, competed with him locally and overseas and he’s had an awesome season at Moorehouse College [Atlanta],” Marshall said.

“I’ve seen him over steeplechase in 5k and 10k and I know his capabilities. He’s definitely the future of the race and he’s a close personal friend of mine.

“My range is half-mile to half-marathon and I’ve also done cross country. And while it’s the biggest race, I love the race but not the distance. It wasn’t about the time, just getting the win. I definitely wish Chris [Estwanik] a speedy recovery.”

Simons, 22, was happy with his performance having only just returned to the island. “I’ve only been back for about a week and Atlanta was hot, but not as humid as this,” he said.

“I ran it three years ago when I actually started running again. ‘Monty’ trains hard, we actually train together so I know the work he puts in. I’m concentrating more on track and just came out here to give it my best shot.

“At about mile four I thought he was going to come back but I’m not too familiar with this distance and didn’t want to expend too much in the beginning and have nothing towards the end.

“I feel I had a good race, ran pretty even, and was second from about mile three or four, Lamont, Tyler and me.

“The crowd was definitely good in Hamilton and if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would have a smile on my face.”

Smith added a fifth-place finish to his fourth place last year coming out of the East End. In comparison he found yesterday’s route from Somerset harder.

“It was certainly a lot tougher, the terrain and the weather,” the 17-year-old triathlete said. “But it’s hard to compare because I’m at different stages in training than last year when I was in peak fitness.

“I took the last three weeks off to finish my schoolwork for final exams and have only been running in the last week. I might have overdone my training trying to make up for what I lost.”

Evan Naude finished third while Chris Harris improved on last year’s fifth with a fourth this time while Spencer Butterfield’s sixth place finish was one better than his seventh in 2015.

Larry Marshall and Chayce Smith placed ninth and tenth behind Ashley Estwanik.

“It was hard, I really struggled but I wanted to finish,” said Marshall, who has been dogged with injuries over the last several years.

“I’m happy that Lamont got the victory, I’m proud of him. For me it was brutal, extremely hot out there and I thought I had a much faster time under my belt but from the warm-up in Somerset I just felt flat.

“My training fell way off in the last few months so I knew I wasn’t in peak condition. This is my first full season of training in ten years, so I’m making progress.

“It’s nice that victory is in the house again and that means something. I guess we’re the first brothers to win and that’s something to be proud of.”

Stephen Allen, third last year, did almost as much walking as running after a blister on his foot took him out of the race after about eight miles. He walked the rest of the way, finishing well down the field as he walked across the finish line.

“I walked about five miles, it got so bad that I couldn’t run,” Allen said before removing his left sneaker to show the blister on the ball of his foot. “I was about third at the point.”

• For results from today’s races click on the PDF links under “Related Media”

Ashley Estwanik won the women’s race (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Runner-up: Simons crosses the line to finish second (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Deon Breary was second in the women's race (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
One for the future: Quincy Kuzyk wins the Heritage Junior Classic Race (Photograph by Akil Simmons)