Lamont Marshall ran away with the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby — literally.
The 33-year-old was the overwhelming favourite to claim Jay Donawa’s vacant crown and lived up to expectations as he blitzed the field to break the tape in 1hr 14min 41sec in a race that was all but over by the first mile.
It was no longer a matter if he would win after passing early pacesetter Chayce Smith near the entrance of Sound View Road in Somerset but rather by how wide of a margin.
That question was answered after second-placed runner Sean Trott crossed the finish line nearly five minutes behind Marshall, whose gamble to go out hard early paid off.
“I was ambitious and took it aggressively the first mile and just tried to hold it,” Marshall said. “I was just trying to hit my own times and it didn’t feel as dominating at all to me. I actually didn’t know what my lead was so I started asking spectators who was second.”
A 5:42 pace eventually caught up with Marshall in the latter stages of the 13.1-mile race.
But the damage had already been done by then and with no rival in sight he cruised the rest of the way to at Bernard Park where he secured a second title in three years.
“I just tried to hold onto my lead and secure the victory,” Marshall said.
His time was well outside of the personal best 1:12 he achieved in 2010 and the 1:13:59 he posted en route to his maiden triumph in 2016.
“The time wasn’t as great but I was just glad to win and overall I’m thrilled,” Marshall said. “It was a sluggish performance and just one of those days that you have to take the bitter with the sweet. But when you set two national records and win the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby in the same season then it’s a good season.”
Marshall pocketed the prize money for finishing first but the monetary award offered by the Derby Committee for breaking the 1:10 barrier proved beyond his reach.
“I still have a lot of improving to do if I am to achieve that goal,” he said.
Not even the battle for second was close as Trott crossed the line more than a minute ahead of third-placed runner Seamus Fearon.
Trott, who finished in 1:19:08 sec, was thrilled to have achieved his objective. “I’m definitely happy with my performance,” he said. “I was aiming for a top three and hopefully under 1:20, so I was very happy I got both.
“I had a little bit higher expectations to maybe go 1:16 or 1:15 but with the conditions 1:19 is great.”
Irishman Fearon was just as pleased to have earned a spot on the podium for the first time in Bermuda’s most prestigious race.
“It’s not my best time but definitely my best place,” he said. “I injured my hamstring a few weeks ago so the time is not great. I knew that I could not compete with Sean and Lamont today, so I settled for third and really just tried to enjoy the crowd, that was just amazing.”