TORTOLA — Despite coming off a foot injury a month ago, St. Martin’s Cécilia Mobuchon shattered the women’s course record in winning Saturday’s Ogier-Deloitte BVI Half Marathon, while St. Lucia’s Michael Bissette overpowered his rivals to win the men’s division.
Mobuchon, who finished fourth overall, broke away early in the 13th edition of the 13.1-mile road race between Road Town and Sea Cows Bay, and finished the race in 1 hour, 25 minutes, 40 seconds.
That shattered the two-year-old course record of 1:30.21, set by St. Thomas’ Ruth Ann David. David finished a distant second in 1:37.15.
“I was very motivated today because it was my first half [marathon] this year and the only thing was running alone, it was very mental,” Mobuchon said. “All I could think about was go, go, go, because there was no one with me.
“I tried to catch the boys, but they were very far from me. It’s not my fastest time. I have no training. Really, I broke the scaphoid bone in my left foot two months ago and I started training one month ago, so I said, ‘Let’s go, you will see what happens in the race’.”
David, gunning for her fifth BVI Half-Marathon title, said she hadn’t been training as before and her work schedule at The Ritz-Carlton, where she was a physical trainer, changed after Hurricane Irma.
“I was happy to maintain a pace because I wanted to stop, but I said ‘I have to keep going and I can do all things through Christ Jesus,’ so I kept pushing myself,” David said.
“I was even trying to motivate Shane [DeGannes] because I knew he was hurting too. It’s hard when you don’t train and I’m 45 years old. When you stop training when you’re older, it takes a while to get back to where you were before.”
Katrina Lindsay, who was third among the female runners in 1:41.31, was the first BVI female finisher. She said she was in awe of her amazing rivals and enjoyed the race.
“For me, it was a massive personal best,” Lindsay said. “I started slow on a 5K pace then I was able to pick it up, so I was really happy with how the race went.”
Early in the race, Bissette ran with Classic Series champion Clif Struiken, Julius Farley and DeGannes before making his move. He went on to win in 1:19:49, more than a minute ahead of Struiken.
“In the first two miles, I normally go out there and test to see what the guys have and when my coach saw the pace, he said, ‘Michael, it’s time to make your move, go ahead about your business, keep the focus and maintain the pace,’” said Bissette after winning his first half-marathon in his 10th attempt.
“It was a nice flat course, the only challenge I had was the wind coming off the sea on the way back, but I managed to keep my focus and got the victory.”
When Bissette took off, Struiken decided not to go with him.
“I thought that was going to be an early death for me so I just kept my pace, kept going and tried to gain some ground close to the end but couldn’t catch him,” Struiken said. “It’s my first half-marathon and I did 1:20. Normally, I just take off but this time, I had to think about what I was going to do.
“I couldn’t keep up with the guy from St. Lucia but next year I’ll do some training and hopefully, I’ll be closer.”
Three-time champion DeGannes said it was a tough race and described his performance as being “lackluster,” adding he probably shouldn’t even have participated.
“The fourth-place finish, I’m not too happy with that but with all the health ailments I’m going through right now, I got through the race,” DeGannes said. “There has been no training. Not many people know that I’ve just been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I had a procedure last week and another for next week.
“A lot of people told me not to come to this race, but I just really, really, really love this race so no matter what, I was going to come and put my best foot forward.”