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Last entrant is first home

Justin Marville

Last entrant is first home

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RICHARD TIROP KESSIO might’ve been a last-minute entry but he wasn’t about to cut it close with the finish too.
The Kenyan-born American became the third different Powerade Run Barbados Marathon champ in as many years yesterday, comfortably cruising to a three-minute margin of victory in his debut appearance at the Run Barbados series.
It was one of the most domineering performances in recent memory.Kessio basically ran the last ten miles without company, covering the 26-mile course from Bay Street to Speightstown and back in two hours, 29.49 minutes.
This after the wiry Kenyan almost failed to face the starter, as he barely made registration having only decided to make the trip at the last-minute after researching the series online.
“When I tried to contact the race organisers they told me I was late for registration but I still decided to get my ticket and come anyhow,” Kessio revealed.
So late was his entry that the initial start list didn’t have his name among the 70 entrants, prompting the CBC coverage crew to dub him the “shirtless Kenyan”.
But Kessio’s identity was more than well known by the time he powered away from his last bit of resistance – countryman Simon Sawe – in Holetown on the return leg.
Sawe (2:32:45), last year’s runner-up, had to settle for third place after Saturday’s third-placed finish in the 10K took its toll and allowed St Lucian Zephrinus Joseph (2:32:38) to pass him in the last 100 metres.
Joseph finished one spot better than last year in the absence of defending champ and fellow St Lucian Victor Ledger, while Curtis Cox (2:35:12) of Trinidad repeated his fourth-placed performance.
He was followed home by Kenyan Alphonce Yatich (2:45:02) and St Vincent’s Pamenos Ballantyne, the 2008 king  (2:48:35).
Mary Akor won the women’s section in two hours, 53 minutes and 21 seconds, becoming the second debutant winner of the day.
A Kenyan-born American in similar vein to Kessio, Akor was even more authoritative than her countryman, having turned the run into a riot from as early as the first trek along Spring Garden.
“The guys weren’t running fast, so I used them to pace so if the girls came to meet me we would’ve run together but no one came,” she said.
“We started so early and it got a little bit boring on the road running by myself with no one out to cheer me,” said Akor who finished seventh overall.
Teresia Mbunga (3:01:49), also of Kenya, was one spot back and eighth overall, while three-time queen Amy Chalk (3:02:34) completed a trio of successive female finishers.
Emerson “Horse” Waldron (3:08:58) came 11th overall as the highest-placed Barbadian, and Rosalind Adamson (43rd) was the first Bajan woman home for the second year, clocking 4:36:48.
Former 11-time winner Kim Goff of the United States finished 30th overall, after the crowd favourite posted 3:58:28.
Kessio probably endeared himself to the home fans, too, having led a six-man chase pack that thwarted Yatich’s initial break, which started at the bottom of University Hill.
After catching the streaking Kenyan in Fitts Village, the lead group went stride for stride heading north before dropping Ballantyne and Stephen Tanui heading into Speightstown at sunrise.
Cox quickly followed suit on the turnaround prior to Yatich and Joseph falling off the pace in Mount Standfast, leaving Sawe in his second successive duel down the west coast following last year’s run against Ledger.
The name might’ve been different but the result was all too familiar.
 Kessio turned on the jets approaching the Holetown Police Station, effectively opening up a 100-metre gap by Sandy Lane before truly putting Sawe out of sight by the return to Spring Garden.
“I had to open a gap and then maintain it so he [Sawe] couldn’t get any closer,” he said.