US college runner wins Dashing thru the Sand

Charles Watson comfortably won the beach run.

Sagehens are birds normally loyal to a particular geographic area in the United States but one flew south for the winter and dominated a race set on the tropical paradise of Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach.

Charles Watson, a senior who runs for Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (which has the sagehen as its mascot), ran away from the field at the 19th Annual Dashing thru the Sand Race on Boxing Day. Watson finished the little-more-than-a-mile course from Cayman Beach Suites to Public Beach in eight minutes and 27 seconds.

“It was really tough out there,” Watson told of the race on a breezy December morning. “I was kind of sinking into the sand and I got hit by a few waves, they bogged down my shoes and made it hard to run.”

Top 3 finishers: (L-R) Drew Watson, Charles Watson, Matthew Courtis.

The decision to run on the beach in shoes came from his experience in 2015, when he finished second to local distance star, Dominic Dyer. “It was definitely better than going barefoot. Last year, I went barefoot and my feet were hurting afterwards.”

Although he was pleased with the result, Watson lamented not getting to run against Dyer again, who was absent from the race due to other commitments.

Tiffany Cole

“It felt really good. I’m sad that Dominic couldn’t be here to race me…I came out here looking to win and wanted my brother, Drew, to be right behind me and that’s what happened. So, I’m very pleased,” said Watson, who is entering his last semester in college.

He was 18 seconds ahead of his brother, Drew, who finished in 8:45.06. Cayman resident Matthew Courtis was third in 8:58.22. Tiffany Cole of 345 Athletic Club was the first female finisher (fourth overall), as she sprinted away from fellow 345 AC runner and coach, Derek Larner as they neared the finish. Cole finished in 9:22.44 and Larner in 9:23.83. (see results below)

The race, organised by coach Jerry Harper of Phoenix Track Club, has been a regular feature on Cayman’s social and sporting calendar for the better part of two decades. It celebrates the fastest and the “lastetst” finishers and others in between, and is seen as a fun way to start Boxing Day, whether you’re getting in some fitness during the holidays or working off the calories consumed during your Christmas feasting.

The event was sponsored by the Department of Tourism.

Runners of all ages came out.

Performance Winners:

1.Charles Watson           8:27.00
2.Drew Watson               8:45.06
3.Matthew Courtis         8:58.22
4.Derek Larner               9:23.83

1.Tiffany Cole                   9:22.44
2.Emily Davies               10:52.91
3.Gill Comins                  10:55.54
4.Electra McErlean       11:57.12

Click here for full  2016 Dashing thru the Sand results

The crowds keep coming for the Boxing Day race on Seven Mile Beach.

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