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Estwanik makes light work of victory

Heavy weather: runners competed in gruelling conditions in yesterday’s Gosling’s to Fairmont race (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Chris Estwanik retained his Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton Road Race title, despite carrying an extra 20 pounds.

The additional weight was not the result of enjoying too much festive food, it was the weighted training vest he was wearing.

The flak jacket-style vest is designed to give athletes a tougher workout. Estwanik, who won the 7.2-mile race in 42min 39sec, confirmed that the vest had made things harder, particularly on the half-mile uphill to the Fairmont Southampton hotel.

“The hill was brutal,” Estwanik said. Explaining the concept of the vest, he said they are used as a training device, and he had been made aware of them by a friend in the United States. “He runs with one of these in California — but not for seven miles. There are some workouts where you wear one of these.”

Estwanik, 36, is trying new ideas after having his training and racing programme disrupted in the past few years because of injuries. He now alternates between running and swimming workouts. And though he has fewer training days when he runs, he optimises those opportunities with quality sessions.

In yesterday’s race, which started outside Gosling’s headquarters on Dundonald Street, Estwanik ran alongside Tim Price for more than half of the race, before making his move just before Burnt House Hill.

“I wanted to push it a bit more, and I put in a surge at 4½ miles,” he said. Price, 26, was second in 43:41. He said: “I thought I might have a chance, but then Chris just disappeared. He’s an amazing runner.”

After watching Estwanik pull away, Price was running alone. However, going up the switchback hill towards the Fairmont Southampton he caught sight of pursuers not far behind. That spurred him to push harder to maintain his advantage.

Seamus Fearon was third finisher in 43:52. In the women’s race, Rose-Anna Hoey beat last year’s champion, Deon Breary, by two minutes. She ran much of the race in the company of Ariell Evans, before crossing the finish line eighth overall in 47:13.

“I knew Deon was in good shape,” said Hoey, 35, who wanted to save some of her energy for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend, where she will compete in the marathon on Sunday. Breary was second in 49:19, holding off Martina Olcheski-Bell, who ran 49:24.

Among the finishers was George Jones, 79, who chalked up his fortieth appearance in the Hamilton to Southampton race, which has been held annually since 1978.

Jones is the only athlete to have competed in all editions of the race, which was formerly known as the Fairmont to Fairmont road race before Gosling’s became joint-lead sponsor last year.

The race walk was won by Howard Williams in 1:18:53, followed by first woman Gilda Cann in 1:28.34.

Iziah Tucker, 14, won the junior 3K race. First girl was Jessie Marshall, 14, in 10:21.