George Towett ran away with the 9th edition of the UWI SPEC half marathon in St Augustine yesterday. The Kenyan-born American dominated the field consisting mainly of local runners to win back to back titles and his third crown overall. He crossed the line in one hour eight minutes 25 seconds, with Richard Jones taking second (1:09.44) ahead of Matthew Hagley (1:10:05), Curtis Cox (1:10:30) and Denzil Ramirez (1:11:20).
Tonya Nero landed the ladies race, stopping the clock in 1:18:20, finishing 11th overall. Celine Lestrade was next (1:35:05) ahead of Juliet John-Sambrano (1:40:45). Towett made his intentions clear early in the race and jumped ahead of the close 900-man field and established a sizable lead before the three-mile mark as the participants made their way eastward along the Priority Bus Route up to La Resource in D’Abadie.
At Tacarigua the petit runner pushed the pace and widened the gap of the trailing group, led by Ramirez, Jones, and Guyana’s Curtis Johnson. Cox, Jules La Rhode, Hagley, Ronnie Holassie and Elvis Turner were all following. Nero was in 14th position as Towett continued to lead at the turning point in D’Abadie with Ramirez and Jones battling for the second.
Sport News 2012-10-28
With victory in sight, Towett kept glancing back to see where his challengers were, but they were too far behind to identify, as he powered across the finish line in front of UWI Sports and Physical Education Centre (SPEC) and collected the US$2,000 on offer. Jones dropped Ramirez to take second and US$1,000 prize. Ramirez dropped back to fifth as Hagley finished strongly to take third ahead of another fast finisher, Cox. Holassie failed to finish. Wheel chair competitor Rickey Singh was in 12th just behind Nero (1:18:49). Nero also collected US$2,000.
Speaking after the triumph Towett said the hot conditions hampered his chances of breaking the course record 1:05:06.9. “The conditions were very hot. This year’s win was not as good as my previous two. I want to run below 1:05 but I felt I needed more competition for that to be possible. I planned a sub-five-minute miles which would have helped achieve my goal. I was running on target earlier on but could not maintain the pace.”
He paid tribute to the route and the organisers: “I love the course and how the race is organised. There were people along the way cheering and that is good support.” Nero also complained about the hot conditions. “It was warm outside but I thought I did a good job. The time was good, given the warm weather. It is not my best, but I am okay with that,” she said.
The 23-year-old said with more competition she felt she could have done better. “Absence of (former winner) Mary Akor and Judy Kimuje (of Kenya) did not really affect me, but it would have been good to have the competition to push me. To have a female with me or in front of me challenges me. I tried to run with the guy who was running closest to my time to push me.”
Nero’s time was off her national record mark of 1:15;13 set in finishing 27th at the World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna, Bulgaria earlier this month. “I have to thank God for giving me my talent and I want to continue to use it all the time. I want to thank my coaches and family for coming out and supporting me.”
1 George Towett USA 1:08:25
2 Richard Jones GDF Suez 1:09:44
3 Matthew Hagley TTDF 1:10:05
4 Curtis Cox GDF Suez 1:10:30
5 Denzel Ramirez TTDF 1:11:20
6 Kelvin Johnson Guyana 1:13:26
7 Jules LaRode Penal Athletics 1:13:29
8 Saldino Nero T&T 1:16:56
9 Shirvan Baboolal T&T 1;17:31
10 Volwin Mercurius T&T 1:17:55
1 Tonya Nero T&T 1:18;30
2 Celine Lestrade T&T 1:35;05
3 Juliet John-Sambraon T&T 1:40:45
4 Carlie Pipe T&T 1:43;56
5 Thias Guttierrez T&T 1:47;35
6 Wendy Shallow T&T 1:47:39
7 Leisl Pukerin T&T 1:48:27
8 Paulette Luces T&T 1:52:03
9 Alissa Bibb T&T 1:52:33]
10 Jod-Lyn Gomez T&T 1:55:23