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Fearon times it just right

New champion: Seamus Fearon won the Hannover Re/BNAA Half-Marathon in 1:25:33 (Photograph by Bermuda Timing Systems)

Seamus Fearon won the Hannover Re/BNAA Half-Marathon after making a decisive kick for the finish line in the last quarter-mile, while Rose-Anna Hoey successfully defended her women’s title.

In the 10K race, held in conjunction with the half-marathon, Christopher Harris stormed to an emphatic victory, while Stepanka Sprincova was the fastest woman.

Glen Wilks, 52, led the half-marathon for most the race. In the first four miles he stayed close to Harris, until the 10K winner reached the turnaround point and headed back to the finish of the shorter race.

Wilks continued alone heading east on South Road, with a gap of between one or two minutes separating him from the next two runners, Fearon and Philip Mace. Wilks did not know how close the two men were until after the turnaround point on Paynters Road, just beyond the seven-mile mark. It was then that he caught his first glimpse of Fearon and Mace, who were steadily chasing him down.

About half-a-mile earlier, Fearon and Mace had run an additional 30 or 40 metres, having missed the turn onto Paynters Road. They quickly retraced their steps after being alerted to their mistake. By eight miles, the gap between the three men was less than 100 metres.

Fearon, 35, said: “We caught Glen as we were going down McGall’s Hill. Then it was the three of us and we ran together.”

The trio slowed the pace as race tactics came into play. Running along South Road towards the finish, which was opposite the Botanical Gardens, Fearon judged his breakaway to perfection, kicking with 400 metres remaining to claim victory in 1hr 25min 33sec. Mace, 40, was next to finish, six seconds adrift, with Wilks third in 1:25:46.

It was Fearon’s first race in about 18 months. He only got back into serious training five weeks ago, and plans to compete in the Bermuda Hall Triangle Challenge during January’s Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

Fearon and women’s champion Hoey both originally hail from Ireland, where they once lived about 10 miles from one another. Hoey, 35, defended her women’s title in 1:27:40, only slightly slower than her time last year. For the first five miles she ran alongside Fearon, Mace and Ashley Estwanik, the current May 24 women’s champion.

As they headed towards John Smith’s Bay on South Road, the group began to fragment, and Hoey moved slightly ahead of Estwanik.

“I always through she would be right behind me,” she said.

“We are both in the middle of triathlon training, and I enjoyed having some company out there.”

Hoey, who was fourth overall, plans to run the marathon during the Bermuda Marathon Weekend. It will be a stepping stone towards a 50-mile race in New York next November. Estwanik, 38, was second woman and fifth overall in 1:30:12, while third woman was Tracey Sutherland, 43, who finished strongly in 1:39:40.

In the 10K race, Harris dominated to win in 36:45, ahead of Moses Mufandaedza in 40:36, and Ronae Burgess in 41:07.

First woman, Sprinkova, was eleventh overall in 45:48, followed by Andrea Luber in 47:11, and Kathleen Thompson in 47:19.

Results, page 32