Tourism officials are beaming over the just concluded successful weekend Run Barbados Series.
Participation of both local and visiting athletes as well as keen interest shown on the road by spectators were noticeably quite high this year and head honcho at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), Billy Griffith, said yesterday he was pleased with what he had observed.
The BTMI chief executive officer explained after the conclusion of the series that there had been increased registration for all the running events over the two days. He noted that with respect to the half-marathon, it was really encouraging that the majority of the participants were overseas competitors. About 80 per cent of those who competed in yesterday’s half marathon were foreign entrants.
Griffith said though this year’s numbers were pleasing, the BTMI would continue to work assiduously on increasing the numbers of those visiting for the Run Barbados Series. Organisers revealed that that this year the two days of racing saw about 2 200 people competing which was an improvement on last year’s figure of about 1 900.
On the actual road there were names that featured prominently across events and none more so than Martinique’s Jean Habararema.
On Saturday Habararema won the Colombian Emeralds International 10K in a time of 31 minutes and 28.66 seconds, finishing ahead of Kenyan Stephen Tanui who took second place.
Then yesterday Habararema won the Bay Street Esplanade to Payne’s Bay 26-mile (two-laps) marathon in two hours, 36 minutes, 14.40 seconds. In second place was Kenya’s Kennedy Kemei in two hours, 37.34, while third was Britain’s consistent Neil Renault in 2.41.44. Renault finished fourth in Saturday’s 10k as well. Barbados’ Andrew Brathwaite took fourth place in the marathon.
In the half-marathon that attracted about 400 entrants the Kenyans were unstoppable with first place going to Julius Koskei and another second place being taken by the persevering Tanui.
There were several outstanding performances from the female entrants with Amy Chalk of England being the first lady to complete the marathon and finishing fifth overall in three hours, 27.25. Kristina Hassell was the first Bajan woman to complete the marathon (4: 01.31) and third female overall. She was the 17th contestant overall to finish the event. Britain’s Sally Barker was second among the women in 3:56.26.
On Saturday Barbadian runner Shamel Maynard gave the home spectators much to shout about when he won the 5K. Akeem Rowe was second and Agape Foster third. Nikki Guiver of England was the first women home in the 5k.
One noteworthy performance among the women also came from Trinidad and Tobago’s Tonya Nero who was the best female runner in the 10K beating Lanni Marchant and Nathasha Wodak on the line in a thrilling contest. While Marchant and Wodak dawdled on the approach to the line Nero sped past them to cover herself in glory with a tight finish. Their times told the true story – Nero (36: 36.49); Marchant (36:37.39); Wodak (36:37.49).