The KRyS Global 30K run had the highest ever number of entries in its five-year history in East End on Sunday.
And for the first time, this run had a previous champion come back and win it again: Chadwick Webster.
The event started at 6 a.m. outside Morritt’s and completed the loop of the Queen’s Highway, Frank Sound Road, Seaview Road through East End, Gun Bay and back to Morritt’s.
The Halloween 10-10-10 relay took place simultaneously, with three runners completing a 10K leg for the distance.
In the men’s race, it was an incredible performance from start to finish by Webster, who led after taking a mile of so to get into his rhythm. Running solo, he smashed the course record that was already his in a time of 2 hours, 3 minutes, 17 seconds, an improvement of three minutes.
Not only did he break the record, but he also beat every other team in the Halloween 10-10-10.
Derek Larner of organizers Race Caribbean said, “It is a pity he did not run over the mat at the second changeover point so we could confirm his other 10K splits, but he was running on the other side of the road and had not realized where the mat was.”
So it was a race for the minor placings and age group places for everyone else. At the 10K marker, Orrett Gayle was behind Webster (38:55) in a respectable time of 41:43.
Amilkar Torres was next in 44:37, followed by Bruce Manhatam, Dave Stock and Jens Pankalla, all under 50 minutes.
By the 20K mark, Webster was so far ahead of the other solo runners and all of the teams it seemed like an age before the next runner came by.
It was still Gayle in second ahead of Torres, but the gap had closed by 30 seconds. The experienced distance runners who were not in the frame at the 10K mark started picking up the pace in the second half and passed some of the others who had gone out a little too quickly.
The last part of the race developed the inevitable pattern as fatigue set in, with many runners feeling the effects of the sun and fighting off the effects of cramping and dehydration.
The last leg of the 30K is always tough as there are a number of twists and turns with some slight uphill and downhill sections, but worst of all is the side wind and the heat and humidity.
Webster had already showered and changed before the next runners came into view.
Gayle and Torres were both finding conditions tough, and Torres handled the conditions better, coming home in 2:19:08.
As Gayle was going through the pains and lost second place, he must have been wondering who else would pass him.
Fortunately for him, all the hard work he put into the first 20K had given him a sufficient buffer to hold on for a super third place.
Ronan O’Keeffe ran the perfect race as his splits were very similar and he moved through the field from 13th place at the 10K mark to finish in a very good fourth place. If he is planning to run the Cayman marathon, this should give him a great confidence boost. The next places were Manhatam, Pankalla and Stock.
In the women’s race, it was the talented Helki Weber who, like Webster, is also a former winner, from 2012.
By 10K, Weber came through in the lead in 51:58, only just ahead of Jessica Jackson (52:25) and Jenny McIvor (53:05). Heather Francis (55:14), Jalene Cruz (55:24) and Pat McCallum (57:50) were some of the next runners.
By the 20K, Weber had increased her lead and McIvor remained close behind her, but it was Cruz who was creeping up the field into contention.
The last leg was tough, with many of the women slowing down, all except Cruz, who was as consistent with her 10K splits as O’Keeffe was in the men’s race. But although the gap between the three runners closed on the last leg, the order remained the same. Weber won in 2:43:14, McIvor was second in 2:44:29, and Cruz was third in 2:47:17.
In the East End 5K, there was a new champion with Thomas Havenstrite winning in 23 minutes, 46 seconds, ahead of youngster Noah Booker (24:09). The first female and third overall place was Karina Porter (25:11). Sarah Burton (26:19) came second, fifth overall.
In the relay race, First Place (2:07:46) lived up to their name, MDR B-Team (2:16:28) were second and MDR Athletes (2:18:50) were third.
Team Nikki’s Voice, the pram pairing of Nikki Christian and Scott Ruby, also completed the 30K in preparation for the Cayman Islands marathon on Dec. 6. Christian, 24, has cerebral palsy and will be pushed the 26.2 miles by Ruby.
Larner added: “Nikki is an inspiration to many people who recognize her bravery. This young lady refuses to accept that her illness can prevent her from participating and enjoying the occasion and participate as she did. We look forward to watching Nikki and Scott in the Cayman Islands marathon.
“Thanks as always to the sponsors KRyS Global and also to out hosts Morritt’s and of course our volunteers.”