It’s safe to say Richardo Kessio likes to run Barbados.
Make that two doubles in three years for the dominant Kenyan as Kessio followed up Saturday’s imposing 10K victory with a second successive victory in the half-marathon yesterday to cap another dominant showing in the Run Barbados series.
Using his customary second-half surge, the defending champion comfortably took the 13-mile event from Bay Street to Paynes Bay and back in one hour, nine minutes and four seconds to better last year’s clocking by more than a full minute.
The result should have come as no surprise for the four-year contestant, who secured his fifth title overall in the series after doing the 2011 marathon-10K double to go along with a victory in the 2010 marathon.
“The course is just so nice and I’ve grown accustomed to running it now,” said a triumphant Kessio, who competes under the Canadian flag.
It was definitely a day for back-to-back victories as American first-time entrant Jess Petersson (1:19:22) doubled down on her 10K win to upstage defending champ Leah Kigen (1:22:08) of Kenya for the second day running.
“It was awesome,” said an elated 36-year-old Petersson of the race. “I’ve never done two races that close together before but it was really fun.
There was nothing enjoyable for Kenyan Sammy Kidlagat (1:11:15) though, not after the race’s eventual second-place finisher had the privilege of watching Kessio storm past him just moments after the turnaround point while leading for the entire first half of the race.
Kidlagat even threatened to run away with the race at one point, having opened up as much as a 150-metre lead on a group that included Kessio, fellow Kenyan Silas Kisorio and Cleveland Forde of Guyana.
Kessio and Forde eventually dropped Kisorio heading up Spring Garden highway before Forde fell off the pace at the Esso gas station at the bottom of Cave Hill when Kessio started to make his move.
But he didn’t catch Kidlagat until the turnaround point in Paynes Bay where the latter clearly started to struggle with the humidity and heat.
“I tried to push hard to win it but that wasn’t my plan coming in and the humidity affected me so much,” Kidlagat said.
“But the race was always his to win because he is so strong.”
Kessio wasted no time displaying that strength, exploding past his countryman in Fitts Village before stretching that lead to as much as 300 metres on the descent to Spring Garden.