Jean Habarurema celebrating his victory. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
Barbados probably had its best run in the 10K. Yet, the top spot continues to elude the hosts. The local athletes fell just short again after Frenchman Jean Habarurema ran away with another Colombian Emeralds International 10K title in yesterday’s Run Barbados series at Bay Street.
Running from The Esplanade through Bridgetown and back, the diminutive distance runner from Martinique successfully defended his crown by winning the event in a pedestrian 32 minutes, 59.10 seconds.
National triathlete Jason Wilson (34:11.90) led a spectacular home challenge that saw Barbados capture the next three spots via the efforts of Fun Mile winner Dario Grandison (35:45.30) and 2015 second-place finisher Joshua Hunte (37:02.20).
But they just couldn’t break Barbados’ winless streak in the 10K, which dates back to the festival’s inception 35 years ago.
They didn’t mount a serious threat to Habarurema either, as the reigning marathon champ sped to his third Run Barbados titlein two years by pulling away from Wilson, Hunte and Grandison along Harbour Road.
By the time the Frenchman made the turn back up Fontabelle he had already opened up a 75-metre lead before turning on the jets by Probyn Street.
This was after Bajan Jerome Blackett had jumped out to an early lead and then handed over to Wilson on their first trek through town.
“The guys were with me for a bit but I decided to concentrate on my race and see what would happen,” said Habarurema, who will also be looking to repeat in today’s marathon.
Canadian Olympian Natasha Wodak didn’t have a repeat performance this time though, avoiding last year’s embarrassment by running through the line to win the women’s race comfortably in 35:01.10.
The victory comes nearly a year to the day that Trini Tonya Nero shocked her on the line when she and compatriot Lanni Marchant were caught celebrating before the finish.
“I wasn’t about to go through the same thing this year so I just decided I’m going to run my pace the whole way and she wasn’t there this time. Plus I’m a lot fitter this year than last year,” said Wodak.
Nero (35:57.10) had to settle for second this time while Marchant was third in 37:33.60.
The hosts were denied victory in the preceding men’s 5K too when St Lucian Michael James stole the show from hometown boy Shamel Maynard to win in 14 minutes and 39.60 seconds.
Maynard, last year’s winner, was relegated to second after finishing in 15:31.30 and fellow Bajan Kion Joseph placed third with 15:41.60.
Sade Sealy (18:11.20) restored some Bajan pride however, winning the women’s race ahead of Diana Wilson-Patrick (19:11.10) and Rachel Atkinson (19:21.50). (JM)