Chris Estwanik ready for step into the unknown
Chris Estwanik can claim sole possession of second place on the all-time winners’ list with victory in the Bermuda Day Half-Marathon Derby.
The 41-year-old is tied on six wins along with legends Ed Sherlock and Arthur Lambert.
Kavin Smith tops the list with nine victories, including five in a row between 1999 and 2003.
Estwanik, whose previous win came in 2015, intends to approach the race with the same full-on commitment that has brought him success to this point.
“I just go out and run as hard as I can,” he said. “I hold myself to a certain standard and then I try and keep myself at that level.
“I can’t control what other people do. But I know for me at the end of every race I just like to go look in the mirror and know that I did everything I could to prepare for it; that I gave it my all on the day.
“If that amounts to enough for victory, then fantastic. If not, then that’s also just as great because that means that there are other people running their best and we’re all pushing each other.
“I won’t be in my best shape I’ve ever been for a half-marathon. But I’m in as good as shape as I could expect to be at my age.”
Estwanik holds all three men’s course records. He set the record starting from Somerset of 1hr 8min 25sec on his race debut in 2008, and the course and event record starting from St George’s of 1:07:46 in 2015.
“That day, in particular, I do remember we had pretty good conditions and I had been training for marathons and was certainly in one of the best shapes I’ve ever been in my life,” Estwanik said. “I just caught a good day and was fortunate to have a good one out there.”
The 13.1-mile race will be held on May 28 and will start from St George’s at 8.30am and finish at Bernard Park.
Estwanik described the course as challenging. “The hills in Hamilton Parish, as you’re coming through, catches you early in the race and you maybe still have a little bit of adrenalin,” he said.
“Then Flatts Hill is the kind of short, steep one and then the big one, I think people recognise as kind of daunting and it hits you around Mile 9, is the hill from the bottom of Brighton Hill all the way to the top of the Arboretum area. It’s almost a full mile uphill.”
Estwanik has his work cut out competing among a men’s field that also boasts Lamont Marshall, the two-times defending champion.
“There’s some phenomenal young runners coming up and the veterans,” he said.
“I’ll do my best I can on the day and what is meant to happen is meant to happen.”
The derby 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.
“I’m just excited to be getting another chance to do it,” Estwanik said. “One year to the next, things change — whether it’s injuries or health or anything. So it’s fun to have this race on the horizon. A lot of people are looking forward to it, and I am one of them.”
Rose-Anna Hoey is the defending women’s champion and is gunning for a third title overall.