Canadians Sarah Inglis (left) and Sasha Gollish approaching the finish line together in the half marathon. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
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Whether lightning can strike in the same place or not, the Canadian half marathon duo of Sasha Gollish and Sarah Inglis were not taking any chances.
On nearing the finish line Gollish and Inglish held hands, after first checking their “rear view mirror” for the fast-finishing Trinidad and Tobago runner Tonya Nero, to capture the Fortress Run Barbados Half Marathon on Bay Street yesterday morning.
Canadians Natasha Wodak and Lanni Marchant attempted a similar final step last year but Nero burst through on the inside to literally snatch the banner, leaving the North American couple gasping for air and an evaporated title.
Yesterday the time chip gave first place to Gollish after she and Inglish, along with Nero, had set the early pace heading down to Paynes Bay. It was only on the return trip that the Canadians were able to create a gap between themselves and the Trinidadian.
Gollish finished in 1 hour, 22:48 minutes, with Inglish stopping the clock at 1:22:48. Nero reached Bay Street in 1:23:23. Barbadian Carlie Pipe, who is returning from injury, captured the sixth spot while Marlo Hunte ended ninth to give Barbados two finishes in the top ten.
The Canadians, who were first-time visitors and competitors in Barbados were very impressed with the event and the island.
“Oh, my gosh, it was amazing. Great crowd and it was really interesting to run in the dark. I have never done that before.
“While it was awesome to come back up and see the sun rising, seeing the moon setting on our trip down was just spectacular,” said Gollish.
Inglish added that they were able to feed off each other’s support, particularly at the end.
“We knew what Nero had done last year so we kept checking on her and telling each other that she was coming and to keep going.
“Barbados is a fantastic place and we will definitely be returning next year,” said Inglish.
Men’s winner Santiago Zerda of Colombia, who held off challenges from Kirk Brown of Jamaica and Barbadian triathlete Jason Wilson, also signalled that he would be returning next year.
“I want to return and defend my victory next year. I love the island, the people are very supportive and the course is very flat . . . . I was able to keep my lead even after the first seven kilometres,” said Zerda.
“But it is a good course and the weather was not too humid or too hot. The second and third-placed guys were chasing me but . . . I was able to attack and open a lead,” said Zerda.
With a group of supporters waiting with Colombian flags at the finish line, Zerda sprinted home in 1:09:45. Brown and Wilson faded to almost one minute slower while the hosts took three spots in the top ten with Joshua Hunte capping a great day for Barbados by finishing tenth.
That day also contained a tinge of sadness with a group of over a dozen runners paying tribute to June Knight, who was a regular competitor in the event and who lost her life this year after being struck by a car while running. They competed in shirts bearing the logo #runforjune. (KB)