UCT Steppas’ Henry Thomas finally captured the Old Harbour Bay 5K road race in his third attempt at the competition.
Thomas, 25, bests a field of 112 runners in 16 minutes 43.73 seconds to claim the title of the 26th edition today after finishing third last year.
Kemar Leslie of Rainforest Seafood was second in 17 minutes 11.65 seconds, while third went to former champion Oshane Archibald, winner of the last two editions prior to this year who finished in 17:17.09.
Sixteen-year-old Hydel High School student Jodian Campbell was the first female across the finish line in 20 minutes 33.93 seconds, more than minute ahead of teammate Shaneika McDonald, who completed the distance in 21:40.17. St Catherine High’s Serena Douglas was third in 22:11.70.
Speaking to Old Harbour News afterwards, Campbell said: “I’m not really in shape as yet, but I’ll be ready for Champs. Today’s race helps a lot with my preparation. Yes, I’m satisfied with my time. The course was a bit difficult because I wasn’t aware of the route.
After finishing third in the steeplechase and fourth in the 3000m at champs last season, Campbell noted “I want to win champs this year… so me and my coach are working on a specific programme to achieve that goal”.
Thomas, who had ran the same course under 16 seconds two years ago in placing fourth, was happy to win and “grateful for the time” so early in the 2019/20 season.
“I have been really training hard, getting myself for cross country. It’s a pretty quick route but the condition (the heat) was a pretty tough one and it took a toll on me,” said Campbell, a native of Thetford, Church Pen and former student of Central High and Tacius Golding High schools.
In the age-group categories veteran road racer Andrew Gutzmore clocked 18:51.22 to claim the 50-59 years old crown, while senior citizen Denzil Lewis of New Harbour Village II logged 28:52.72 to capture the 60 and over title.
Sonia Gayle took the 50-59 female equivalent in 27:44.72, while Dell Wong of Pacers Running Club secured the over 60 category in 31:13.63.
Richard Brown of Bank of Jamaica ended the race in19:53.32 to win the 35-49 age-group ahead of New Harbour Village II resident Winston Mollison, who got home in 22:26.83. In the female division for this age group veterans Arieta Martin (23:38.08) came out on top ahead of Karlene Blagrove (26:41.92) and Michelle Slack, who finished in a time of 31:43.94.
And in the community category, Kaylee Powell (28:02.43) and Shemar Bradley (19:10.61) won the respective female and male sections.
Head of the organizing committee Olympian and Old Harbour Bay native Neville Myton said the event continues to grow each year.
“I think each year we grow and this year is a success over last year based on the number of entries. Most people don’t know that we are one of the oldest road races in Jamaica.
“We are the only road race that doesn’t charge students to compete,” Myton told Old Harbour News, noting that $90,000 from the proceeds will be shared equally to three kindergartens institutions based in the Old Harbour Bay community. They are Old Harbour Bay Baptist Basic School, Prophecy Basic School and Old Harbour Bay Primary School.
“We are satisfied because we know that anything that takes time to grow will always survive,” he concluded.