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Morseman strolls to emphatic win

Weekend warriors: men’s Marathon winner Morseman, left, women’s Half-Marathon champion Steel and local runner Jay Donawa tackle the course (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Race debutant Bryan Morseman romped to an emphatic victory in yesterday’s Bermuda Marathon Weekend marathon.

The American led from wire to wire before hitting the tape in 2hrs 29min 11secs — more than 17 minutes ahead of second placed runner and compatriot Nick Synan — to claim the title and $2,000 winner’s purse at the first attempt.

“It feels good and it probably won’t sink in until I get back home [to New York] with my wife and kids who could not come on this trip,” said Morseman, who won a team gold medal at last November’s 50K World Championships in Qatar with the United States.

He ran the second half of the 26.2 mile race alone, only breaking stride when nearly colliding with a motorist who cut across him at the junction of Serpentine Road and Pitts Bay Road.

“It was a scary moment and I didn’t realise that person cut in front of me,” Morseman said. “I thought it was the lead biker or my mind was starting to play tricks on me. But luckily I was able to dart to the right.”

The triumph was Morseman’s first in international competition and 44th in a marathon.

The runner made it all look so easy, charging out front right off the start and maintaining a steady sub-six-mile pace the rest of the way with victory all but secured.

“I led from the start and there was nobody running with me and so I ran with the lead female runner in the half marathon,” said Morseman, whose time was ten minutes slower than his personal best. “I just tried to stay in control first half. I wanted to get out considerably hard and try and cruise that second half. I am a determined go-getter and so I kind of kept pushing and if I really started hurting then I would back off because I knew I had a comfortable lead, but I just kept pushing.

“This is my first time here and it was gorgeous. The weather was beautiful; a little warm, but I will take it over cold and freezing rain.”

Synan finished second in 2:46.02 followed by Ben Parkes, of Britain, who rounded off the overall podium in 2:46.21.

Ethiopia’s Meseret Ali Basa won the women’s marathon title and was fifth overall in 3:02.39.

“The course was very tough, which I didn’t expect as this was my first time competing here,” Basa said. “I am very happy with my time because I haven’t really been training and the course was very tough.”

Rose-Anna Hoey, the first local finisher, was second behind Basa and ninth overall in 3:12.29.

“I didn’t really have the prep I normally would for this marathon, so I wasn’t expecting to run that well,” said Hoey, who opted not defend her Bermuda Triangle Full Challenge title to concentrate solely on the marathon in preparation for the JFK 50 Miler in November in New York.

“I went out really hard in the first half and I was running beside Joan Benoit Samuelson [first women’s Olympic marathon champion] and I could see the lead lady [half-marathon] was coming closer and closer to me in the first half and she told me to put a surge in and I think that was the death of me.

“After that I just tried to settle in and I actually didn’t think I was going to finish this race today as it was quite hot.”

Stephanie Hodge, of the US, rounded off the women’s podium in the marathon in 3:26.56.

Maritz Theron was the first local male and second in the overall local field in 3:19.38 followed by Timothy Patterson, who rounded off the local podium in 3:37.08.