Thursday, December 14, 2017

Donaldson, Russell rule in cross country


TOP HONOURS: THE leading three finishers John Donaldson, centre, Deodath Harrikissoon, lrft, and Jedidiah Benjamin.

Mark Fraser

First CitizenS’ John Donaldson copped the male division of the recently-held 23rd edition of the CariFin games at the Sevilla Golf course. First Citizens dominated in the male cross country event as they came with their strategies to secure a win for their institution.

Donaldson had opened a 200 metres lead when the runners entered the course. Following him a few metres behind was RBC’s Jedidiah Benjamin, who recently won the one-lap Savannah event.

It was a test of endurance and experience. Chancellor Challenge first and third-place finishers, Rashad Blenman and Jean Pierre Deboulet, of Guardian Group and Sargicor, respectively, followed at a distance. However, they were well held by Donaldson.

“I ran the race according to my planned strategy of starting aggressively and attempting to open up some distance between myself and the rest of the field to avoid being ‘out-sprinted’ at the end, by my younger and faster competitor, as in the Urban Challenge races,” said Donaldson.

In the end, it was a game of experience that won, as Donaldson completed the three-lap 2.2 K cross country in 30 minutes, 45 seconds, making it the second time he has won this event. The first time was in 2011 for Grace Kennedy, completing the course in :28.40.

After the three-lap journey, young Benjamin crossed the finish line in :31.16, followed by Deodath Harrikissoon, taking third place in :32.08.

In the women’s category, Susan Russell of RBC had no competition on the day as she led from start to finish, posting a time of :27.48 to take her first cross country title. Russell, who has participated in the event since 2006, was followed home by the SAGICOR pair of Simone Balkissoon and Danielle Cazabon in :29.40 and :29.58, respectively. The duo were making their CariFin cross country debut.