Tyler Butterfield followed in the example set by Dage Minors in Friday’s Elite Mile when he ran to victory in the Bermuda Marathon yesterday in near-perfect running conditions.
Butterfield, Bermuda’s top male triathlete who returned from his home in Boulder, Colorado to compete for the first time in several years, set the pace after a 1hr 14min time for the first loop on his way to a winning time of 2:27:07 ahead of last year’s winner, Bryan Morseman, of the United States, who clocked 2:28:43. Third was Abu Kebede Diriba, of Ethiopia, in 2:37:44.
“I’ve done one marathon before and that was a 2:42 [time] when I was 21, a good 14 years ago,” Butterfield said after his victory. “I ran a 2:48 in an Ironman, so I knew with a 2:42 I should be able to improve on that.”
Butterfield ran several miles with another local runner, Chayce Smith, who was competing in the Bermuda Half-Marathon.
“Chayce and I ran the first lap together and it was great hearing everyone cheering us on,” Butterfield said. “It was nice to have some locals up the front.
“Bryan led me through the first half and then we ran the first mile or two [second loop] together before I pulled away just after Trimingham Hill.
“There was a slight downhill before the flat to McGall’s Hill and I had speed coming off the hill and just went with it. I thought I might regret it later because it was a little quick. The first lap was a negative split but I have to say there was a lot of people out there cheering. Thank you to the people who come out every year.”
Butterfield and Morseman were tucked in with the Half-Marathon lead pack, before the field started to open up after the two-mile mark and Butterfield carried on to win,
Butterfield still holds the senior schools mile record of 4:27:30, which he set in 1999 when a student at Saltus. Coming back to compete brought back memories, although his flight into Bermuda on Friday night was too late to allow him to get to Front Street to see the races.
“I haven’t done this since the Front Street Mile years ago and it was nice to see a local win the [elite] mile,” Butterfield said. “I think Bermuda has done really well this Race Weekend, I know Minors is training for the Commonwealth Games as well, so it was great to see him on good form.
“I arrived around 9.15pm so he was probably crossing the tape when I was landing on the runway! I really enjoyed seeing him in the newspaper.
“I don’t know him that well, he’s 22 and I’m a fair bit older, but it is always nice to see a local shining overseas and locally.”
Moresman was faster than his time of 2:29:11 but he had to contend with the conditions and a triathlete still in great shape at the age of 35.
“It was definitely more brutal out there, windy and more humid,” the New York resident said.
“Last year the sun might have been out more but it wasn’t as windy and humid. The humidity really zapped me. I only ran 29 seconds slower than I did last year, so that’s real close.
“[Tyler] and I were together until about [mile] 17 and then he kind of picked it up on the downhill while I said I would wait and see what happens. I just maintained, not faster and not slower.”
Morseman left a foot of snow behind in New York so was glad to be in much warmer Bermuda. “It was pretty nasty driving to the airport in Buffalo,” he recalled.