Smith targets elite after emphatic win
It was a double-winning weekend for Chayce Smith and Gayle Lindsay, who yesterday lifted the men's and women's titles in the David Saul Memorial — Fidelity International 5K.
The day before, both runners secured victories in the BNAA cross country series race at the Arboretum.
Smith, 30, was the outstanding performer in the 5K, running close to five-minute miles for the new course along Harbour Road, and crossing the finish line at Fidelity International in 15min 41sec. He was followed by Damian Gold in 17:13, and Dennis Mbelenzi in 17:23.
It was a resounding victory for Smith, and underscored his improved form. He has been almost unbeatable on the roads and cross country after stepping up his training mileage this year.
And he hopes the organisers of the KPMG Invitational Front Street Mile have him on their radar, because he believes he is capable of being in the mix with the international elite if he is allocated a slot in January's showcase race.
“I'm focused on the Front Street Mile,” he said. “I think I could do 4:15 if I get the chance. I'm starting my 1,000 metres training this week.”
Smith, who helped to establish the GS Running Club for youngsters, has managed to put in some quality training.
He enjoyed the opportunity to run a short, speedy race. “When you are doing an average of eight miles [each day], you look forward to expressing yourself at three.”
He added: “I would not have run two races in two days if this one hadn't have been for David Saul.”
The Fidelity race is now in its 21st year, and this year's edition was renamed in tribute to Dr Saul, who died in May.
The former premier was a renowned athlete, and in 1957 set the Bermuda national record for ten miles with a time of 52:53, a mark that stood for decades before being broken in the 1980s. Dr Saul was also a past present of Fidelity Bermuda.
Many athletes who competed in yesterday's race were, like Smith, doing so to honour Dr Saul. Also among those running were members of the Saul family.
Women's champion Lindsay shook off the weariness in her legs from the previous day's cross country to take the title in 19:12, ahead of Martina Olcheski-Bell in 19:46, and Melissa Logie in 19:59.
Lindsay, 29, matched strides for much of the race with Steve Burgess, the track coach and former Bermuda 800 national record-holder. Burgess was making a rare race appearance and was doing so as a tribute to Dr Saul, who he described as a mentor. He lifted the senior master's title after crossing the finish line in 18:54.
A number of junior athletes impressed, with Tommy Marshall, 13, coming fourth overall in 17:29. Marshall also won his age division in the cross country race on Saturday. Jake Brislane, 12, was sixth overall in 17:56. Ashley Irby, 16, was fourth in the women's race in 20:32.
There were more than 400 entrants in the 5K run and walk, and junior 1K race.
The junior race was won by Matthew Elliot, 13, in 3:26. Fastest girl was Myeisha Sharrieff in 3:46.
Howard Williams was first in the 5K walk in 32:10, followed by Joseph Zuiker in 35:37, and first woman Gilda Cann in 36:17.
Men's age division winners in the 5K among were: Christopher Harris (masters) in 17:38; Neil Halliday (over-60) in 20:13.
Women's age division winners were: Georgia Wharton (masters) in 21:09; Deborah Norman (senior masters) in 22:23; Debbie Butterfield (over-60) in 24:23.