Derby champion Lamont Marshall expects to be in good company winging it
Lamont Marshall and Rose-Anna Hoey will lay their respective titles on the line at the upcoming Bermuda Day Half-Marathon Derby.
Marshall won the last race in 2019 while Hoey claimed a second women’s title in finishing 25th overall.
The 13.1-mile road race will be held on May 28 and will start from St George’s at 8.30am and finish at Bernard Park.
Marshall, who is gunning for a third straight title and fourth overall, said: “I’ve remained in training, so I haven’t taken a break from actual activity. But I’m not sharp or race-fit.
“It’s different now and this is the longest that I’ve ever gone without being active in terms of racing, proper training. It’s just not the same.”
Marshall is on verge of joining an exclusive group of company to have won the race three times on the trot, which includes the likes of Ed Sherlock, Kavin Smith, Terrance Armstrong and Chris Estwanik.
“I’ll be on the line but expectations are I’m just going and whatever happens, happens,” Marshall added.
“I’ve never entered a race without a race before. The first year I won it in 2016, that had to be at least my fifth or sixth race, and same with 2018 and 2019.
“It’s different and under normal circumstances, I would never debut like this. The only consolation is I figure it will be a level playing field because I don’t think anybody’s fit.”
Estwanik, a six-times champion who holds the race record of 1hr 7min 46sec, multiple runner-up Sean Trott and former North Village and Bermuda footballer Sammy DeGraff are also among the top contenders who could potentially pose a threat to Marshall’s crown.
Meanwhile, Hoey is thrilled to have the opportunity to compete again.
“First of all, I’m really excited it’s going ahead,” she said. “There’s been nothing really to look forward to over the last year. It’s something to focus the energy on and have a bit of positivity about.
“I did start training quite well at the start of the year and then when we went into our last lockdown I sort of pulled back a little bit, especially on the speed work and stuff like that because I didn’t want to stress my body unnecessarily.
“I have to say it was a bit of a surprise when I found out they [race organisers] would actually be going ahead.”
Hoey will also have her work cut out defending her title among a formidable women’s field that boasts six-times winner Ashley Couper, who also holds the course record of 1:21:24, which she set in 2014.
“Even though it’s a smaller field, it’s an incredibly strong women’s field taking part,” she added.
“Ashley Couper is back and Christine Dailey, Gayle Lindsay, Martina Olcheski-Bell are also back, so there will be plenty of women out there and you have to really put your best foot forward to make any kind of impact in this race.”
The road running spectacle was cancelled for only the second time in its 112 -year history last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The other time it was cancelled was in 1915 because of the First World War.
Marshall said: “This year is almost like it’s less of a race and more of an acknowledgement not to take these sort of things for granted.
“It’s not always a guarantee so this is more like just an acknowledgement of the fact you can come out.”
Because of safety restrictions the field will consist of 450 individual runners and 25 relay teams of four.
As of yesterday, there were 404 entries confirmed.