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Donawa at peace with his missed opportunity

Running for fun: Donawa has accepted that he will never win Bermuda’s biggest race (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Jay Donawa thinks this could be Lamont Marshall’s year to claim a first title in the Appleby Half-Marathon Derby next Tuesday.

Chris Estwanik, the defending champion, has ruled himself out of the race due to an Achilles injury.

However, he had the air cast removed from his right foot and has been doing some jogging, leaving Donawa to wonder if Estwanik might be tempted to sign up at the last minute.

As it is Estwanik has not entered tomorrow’s race leaving Donawa to tip Lamont Marshall as his favourite to win.

“The logical favourite would be Lamont Marshall. He would be my favourite, just looking at previous years and his current fitness.”

Donawa finished sixth himself last year as the race came out of St George’s for the first time in almost 40 years.

However, he said soon after, and reiterated yesterday, that his competitive days are now behind him and will only be running for fun.

He has come to terms, he said, with not having won the island’s most popular road race.

“I decided last year was going to be my last year of looking at being competitive, not just 24th of May but my career as a whole,” Donawa said.

Donawa had two back-to-back victories in November when he won the Men on the Run 5k race to defend his title and then took honours in the BNAA/Hannover Re Half-Marathon.

Four days after that he was in hospital to have a gall bladder removed which ruled him out of Bermuda Marathon Weekend in January.

Donawa has since gone on to win the Renaissance Re 10-Mile race in late March.

“During the course of 2016 I’ve just been running to enjoy it and have gotten myself into reasonable shape where I can be relatively competitive,” the 43-year-old said.

“In terms of competing for May 24, I am nowhere near ready to be a contender for that. I’m in shape but not that type of shape.”

In Estwanik’s absence, any one of Lamont Marshall, Chayce Smith, Stephen Allen, Chris Harris, or even teenager Tyler Smith, could win a first title.

“So much is about what happens on the day,” Donawa said. “In my opinion running from Somerset to Hamilton is a more challenging course, having done St George’s last year.

“This course is going to present a challenge and the weather could be a major factor on the day as it’s forecast to be raining.

“I love running in the rain and if I wake up on Tuesday and it is raining then I’ll be one of the happiest people, not that it’s going to improve my performances!”

As a Somerset resident Donawa enjoys coming out of the West End with the crowds cheering him on, though he insists a first victory is beyond him now.

“I’m at peace with that and just accept what has been has been,” he stated.

“As long as people know that I went out there and gave the best I could on the day and was honest with a level of integrity, that’s the most important thing.

“Even though I announced last year that I wouldn’t run [competitively], there is one particular lady who, every time I see her, says ‘just give me one more year’.

“It’s people like her, when I’m doing my training runs in Somerset, who drive me on. It’s more therapeutic for me now to run, it helps me with my mood and my day.”

• A full list of entrants in tomorrow’s race can be found by clicking on the PDF link under “Related Media.”