American visitor Marc LeBlanc had planned to do a 16-mile training run yesterday, but instead he made a late entry to the Ed Sherlock 10K road race and won by more than a minute in 35min 59sec.
While Gayle Lindsay, who last month won the KPMG Front Street Mile local women’s title, returned to competition to notch up another victory in 43:03.
For overall winner LeBlanc, it was a chance encounter the day before the race that led him to the start line.
The fitness trainer, who lives near Boston, was staying at the Fairmont Southampton and had just returned to the hotel from a workout when he encountered Gilda Cann, one of the island’s top race walkers. She mentioned the nearby event and LeBlanc, 37, decided to give it a go.
A talented road runner with a 2hr 31min best for the marathon, LeBlanc yesterday quickly took a position at the front of the field alongside Sean Trott and closely followed by Tim Price.
Under sunny skies, in 72F heat and with humidity touching 86 per cent, it felt more like early summer than February.
The conditions became a factor as the race progressed and runners began to wilt, particularly on the shadeless final two miles along South Road to reach the finish next to Southampton Rangers Club.
LeBlanc and Trott stayed together for the first four miles before the American picked up the pace and broke away. LeBlanc said:
“I felt strong for the first three miles, but the humidity on the last 5K got to me.”
LeBlanc is gearing up for the Vancouver half-marathon in May, and said he would like to make a return trip to Bermuda.
Trott finished second in 37:06, followed by last year’s runner-up Price in 37:39.
Lindsay, 29, dominated the women’s race, with Victoria Fiddick, top senior master, second in 45:18, and Leana Coetsee third in 47:12. Lindsay said: “I wanted to do something to build up my endurance.
“It was tough — hot and humid — but a nice challenge. And I haven’t run in the Legends series before.”
The Ed Sherlock race was celebrating its 25th anniversary, and this was the second year that it had been run as a 10K rather than a five-mile event.
It is the first event in the four-race series organised by Swan’s Running Club that honours Bermudian running legends.
Sherlock, 86, a six-times Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby winner between 1956 and 1962, greeted competitors at the finish line and handed out prizes.
The 10K race walk was won by Gilda Cann in 1:16:15, ahead of Maria Almeida in 1:19:22, and Zharia Bean in 1:19:22.
A junior two-mile race was won by Tajia Goater in 13:04, with Jaeda Grant first girl and second overall in 13:38.
In the 10K road race, age division winners among the men were Omari Hart, first master in 38:51; Ricky Sousa, first senior master in 47:28; and Frederick Steede, first over-60 in 45:49. Among the women, Rebecca Shepherd was first master in 52:03, and Mayberline Black was first over-60 in 61:17.