Encore by Americans
Americans Robert Letting and Janet Cherobon-Bawcom proved that lightning can strike twice on Bay Street by capturing the Scotia Bank Half-marathon yesterday morning, 12 hours after taking the 10K on Saturday evening.
Letting’s previous victory was in 2008 when he prevented Philip Lagat from repeating as winner. Lagat returned the next year (2009) to triumph.
Yesterday before dawn, Letting chose Lagat, his fellow Kenyan who also lives in the United States, as a partner. The two set a blistering pace from the time that Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy started the race for the 190 runners on the stroke of 5 a.m.
Through the gloom of Bridgetown, along Spring Garden and through St James to the turnaround point, both Letting and Lagat seemed to be doing synchronised running with only the slight difference in height being contrary to the strides and arms-swings.
It was only in front of the Cliff Restaurant that the duo broke strides as Letting paused to retie his laces.
On the trek back, both runners received thunderous applause from the spectators lining the route, as well as other competitors who were now making their way down to St James.
Even so, like two training partners out for a Sunday morning jog, they kept stride as they wound their way back up Spring Garden.
However, with Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Jones barrelling down on the two leaders, Letting decided that it was every man for himself and he turned on the boosters.
He pulled away from Lagat by the Central Purchasing building and sprint all the way to Bay Street, taking the race in one hour and nine minutes.
Jones reached home a minute later, and a similar time difference split Lagat’s arrival.
Letting said he was running to win and not trying to beat Lagat’s 2007 record of one hour, five minutes.
“I was feeling a bit tired after yesterday’s race but I had a good night’s rest and I came out here to win this morning,” he said.
“The half-marathon is not like the 10K where you can just run and leave everyone. You need someone at your side to keep focus or your mind would wander and you would feel the tiredness.
“After 18 kilometres Lagat was having some problems and the guy from Trinidad was gaining on us, so I had to push to take the race.”
Cherobon-Bawcom encountered no such drama as she dominated from South Coast to West Coast and back to the South, coming home in 1:19, three minutes ahead of Megan Brown of Canada.
Last year’s champion Erin Omara had to settle for third with a time of 1:29.
The first Barbadian male home was Mark Greenidge in 1:20 to place eighth with another Bajan, Jerome Blackett, ending ninth.
The first Barbadian female was sixth-placed Dominique Marshall in 1:40. She said she would be going after the three-peat next year.
“I am a personal trainer by profession and this is good PR for my business, as I am practising what I preach about eating healthy and getting lots of exercise,” an elated Marshall said.