Towett completes UWI Half hat-trick
Akor beats T&T’s Nero for women’s crown
Roger Seepersad firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenyan George Towett continued his dominance in the UWI SPEC International Half Marathon, winning his third straight title yesterday in a fast one hour, six minutes, 22 seconds.
The 29-year-old Towett, who also won in 2007 and then again in 2011 and 2012, beat countryman Richard Kessio in yesterday’s early morning race which saw more than 1,000 runners start off outside UWI SPEC in St Augustine, making their way down the Priority Bus Route to La Resource, D’Abadie, before heading back to the campus.
Kessio completed the 13.1-mile course in one hour, seven minutes, 16 seconds.
The competition among the female runners was also intense, with USA’s Mary Akor edging Trinidad and Tobago’s Tonya Nero for the women’s title.
Akor clocked one hour, 21 minutes, 11 seconds, with Nero coming in second in 1:21:29.
Nero caught Akor, and both runners pushed each other towards the end of the race, but the Nigerian-born American edged ahead in the end.
Towett and Kessio had a similar battle in the first half of the race, exchanging the lead a few times as they approached the D’Abadie turn-around with a few spectators urging them on.
After the race, Towett admitted that it was close up to that point as he tried to push his opponent to see how he would handle the pressure.
After the turn, Towett took the lead, but the battle was still close, with Kessio being spurred on by fellow runners and spectators who were shouting “stay with him”.
Further back, T&T’s Curtis Cox, the first local runner to cross the finish line in fifth spot overall, had Richard Jones for company as they ran through Arouca, but the latter could not keep up with the 45-year-old when he decided to shift gears.
Speaking about his duel with Kessio, Towett said: “In the latter stages of the race it was more tactical. Right before ten kilometres, I looked to make my move. Before that I wanted to see if the other guy was stronger to see if he could keep the pace.
“I was coming to break the record but I did not get what I was looking for but I like running this race. It is a very nice race, good course, well organised. I am happy to come back and win again.
“I think it (my performance) was better today because last year I did not run good, but today I tried to push and push and I am glad to win,” he added.
Akor was also happy with the win, and explained that she completed the race bare-footed as she pushed to take first place ahead of Nero–the 2012 women’s champion.
“It was great race. I was running with her (Nero’s) pace and even though I am good, I was kind of a little bit scared of Tonya because she won last year.
“It was a little mind-shaking and my game-plan changed. When the race started I took off and Tonya met up with me, I think with one mile to go, so when she was running with me my mind was a bit shaky so I give her that respect. She is a great runner,” said Akor.
In other results, yesterday, the ten specially-invited persons representing ten charities all completed the race, which also featured T&T President Anthony Carmona’s wife, Reema Harrysingh-Carmona.
UWI SPEC International Half Marathon Results
1. George Towett (Kenya)–1:06:22
2. Richard Kessio (Kenya)–1:07:16
3. Norbert Gutierrez Curbeco (Cuba)–1:07:44
4. Rupert Green (Jamaica)–1:10:25
5. Curtis Cox (T&T)–1:14:22
6. Kade Sobers (T&T)–1:18:11
7. Elvis Turner (T&T)–1:18:16
8. Pamenos Ballantyne (St Vincent)–1:18:24
9. Shirvan Baboolal (T&T)–1:18:30
10. Lyndon Bacchus (T&T)–1:18:40
1. Mary Akor (USA)–1:21:11
2. Tonya Nero (T&T)–1:21:29
3. Karla Urbina Rojas (Venezuela)–1:28:01
4. Janelle Nedd (T&T)–1:28:08
5. Celine Lestrade (T&T)–1:35:07