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Women lead the way on historic weekend

Ukrainian Valentyna Poltavska said it was a “wonderful feeling” after becoming the first woman to win the Bermuda Marathon yesterday.

The 44-year-old finished the 26,2-mile race in a time of 3hr 4min 2sec to etch her name in the annals of Bermuda Marathon Weekend history.

Bermuda resident Rose-Anna Hoey came second in 3:06:56 to set a new record in the Bermuda Triangle Challenge, with American Tim Price the first man to the line, finishing third overall in 3:07:24.

Poltavska, who won the women's marathon in 2014 in 2:56:25, said she was confident of victory in the absence of any other “elite” runners in the field.

“I'm very happy and feel wonderful,” Poltavska said via a translator. “After the first loop I understood I could be first and beat the fastest man.

“I knew there wouldn't be too much competition and decided that winning was my aim and not running a particularly fast race.”

Poltavska, whose personal best stands at 2:38 at the Detroit Marathon in 2004, said the conditions were perfect, a welcome change from the sub-zero temperatures in her homeland.

“I love Bermuda, I love the people and everyone is happy and smiling,” said the former track athlete who started running marathons 14 years ago.

“The weather here is perfect. Back in the Ukraine it is very cold so I came here to enjoy the experience.”

Gideon Kigotho, a Bermuda resident, was fourth overall, posting a time of 3:14:31.

Jordan Chipangama breezed to a third half-marathon title in four years yesterday, crossing the line in 1:11:46 to follow on from his win in Saturday's 10K.

Chipangama trailed behind Laura Paulsen, a United States Olympic Games trialist, for the first four miles before taking the lead.

It was the Zambian's second 10K triumph in three years, with the 27-year-old also finishing third in the KPMG Bermuda Invitational Mile on Friday night.

“It was a successful weekend for me and I was pretty impressed with my performances,” said Chipangama, who will compete in the marathon at this summer's Rio Olympic Games.

“I'm pretty happy although I would have loved to have won the elite mile.”

Paulsen's impressive display earned her the women's half-marathon title, finishing second overall in 1:18:29, in her first appearance in Bermuda.

“I was weird [at the start of the race],” she said. “I was wondering where everyone was and I wasn't even going that fast. I just felt fine.”

In third place was Byrne Decker, of the United States, who posted a time of 1:22:42, with Bermuda's Spencer Butterfield placing fourth in 1:23:36.

For Hoey, it was a weekend to remember, with the Irish runner shattering Dawn Richardson's 2009 Bermuda Triangle Challenge record.

“I felt like crying to be honest,” Hoey said. “I saw my husband and son, and that was a bit emotional.

“I'm so pleased, I just want to thank everybody, my family and friends, who supported me. I broke the record and I'm so pleased,”

Making history: Poltavska high-fives the crowd as she approaches the finish line on Front Street (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published January 18, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated January 18, 2016 at 12:25 am)

Women lead the way on historic weekend

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