Youngsters rely on veteran to seal relay deal

Members of the winning team. L-R: Levi Superville, Victor Magalhaes, Tommy Kehoe, Juan Pablo Valerio. Absent: Will Edwards, Derek Larner.

Hundreds of runners hit the roads early Sunday, 4 February, for the 41st Annual Hash House Harriers Cross Island Relay. Overnight rains eased around half an hour before the 6:00 a.m. start, as teams of six raced a 26-mile route from Gun Bay, East End to Smith Cove.

Team Mourant held the lead for much of the race, as 345 Athletic Club MDR A tried to keep them in within reach. With the gap closing steadily with solid runs by the 345 teenagers, it was a showdown on the final leg with 345 AC’s veteran runner and coach, Dereck Larner, chasing Mourant’s Greg Meaker.

 

Hustling along from Old Prospect Road through South Sound to the finish, Larner overtook Meaker to finish in 2:26:39.24, more than two minutes ahead. Mourant finished in 2:28:53.91.

About 10 minutes later, Matt Volkwyn crossed the line to give WNRC It Feels Like Team Spirit a third-place finish in 2:38:07.78.

Matt Volkwyn

CaymanSportsBuzz.com caught up with some of the members of the winning team to hear about the race.

“My leg was a tough one,” said Tommy Kehoe, who took the baton from lead runner Will Edwards in first place after a first leg of 23:03.70. “It was nice and cool to keep running. I found it hard though; I haven’t been training much but it was alright,” added Kehoe, who completed his leg in a relatively sluggish time of 27:12.57.

345 AC MDR A had slipped into second behind Mourant when Kehoe handed off to Victor Magalhaes. “I tried to be consistent, well-paced and run my own race. I just wanted to be in a good position to hand off to Levi [Superville],” Magalhaes said.

Superville said he may have miscalculated the task ahead of him. “I went off way too fast at the start. I tried to catch the guy in front of me but that didn’t really work out. So, I kind of held on by the skin of my teeth,” he said of his 24:23.82 four-mile leg.

The baton was then in the hands of Juan Pablo Valerio, who had the daunting task of chasing Marius Acker through Savannah and Spotts toward Old Prospect Road.

“In the distance, I could see Marius. Every time, I just [saw] this blue shirt in the distance and I was like ‘I can get him, I can get him’. When we made it on to Old Prospect Road, a couple people were saying ‘let’s go, Pablo. You’re almost there’. Every time I saw him, he just got a little bit quicker and quicker,” Valerio said. He completed his run in 23:58.56.

It was all up to Larner at this stage to make something of the race or possibly hear it from his young athletes. In the end, there was no one ahead of him when he crossed the line after 24 minutes, 19.68 seconds of running.

Larner’s teenage teammates did not want to give the coach too much credit. “We set it all up,” they said almost in unison when asked for their thoughts on his run.

Mourant’s team was Chadwick Webster, Patrick Harfield, Andrew Keast, Hayden Isbister, Marius Acker, and Greg Meaker. WNRC It Feels Like Team Spirit was comprised of Ben Strangeway, Jason Deamer, Esmond Brown, Tom Cowling, Toby Bowles, and Matt Volkwyn.

 

Walkers Running – Andrew Barker, Hugh Anderson, Chris Brett Young, James Murrie, Theo Lefkos, and Peter Kendall – was fourth overall but the first team in the corporate division with a time of 2:40:01.84. Red Sail Sports was the second corporate team to finish (2:46:45.28), and KPMG Getting Busy third (2:45:50.05).

The F45 Trailblazer team of Leanne Thorne, Amy Dyer, Olivia Shanks, Breda Meehan, Gill Gordon, and Evelin Ritch was the first all-female group to finish. They did the course in 2:58:32.61. Second was 345 AC Gurls (Kiara McLaughlin, Gill Gordon, Tiffany Cole, Mikaeyla Dacres, Charlotte Kerr, and Ava Hider) with a time of 2:59:35.26. Gordon apparently had enough energy to run two legs on the day.

A special nod must be given to The Flying Pigs from 345 Athletic Club, a group of 11 and 12-year-olds who finished 29th. The team members were Andrew Peene, Ben Vagniez, Seb Bjuro, Declan Van Dam, Culainn Lynch, and Clancy Hannon.

See full results: XIR Results revised

 

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