Bahamian Delroy Boothe was the overall winner in the open marathon at the 2020 Sunshine Insurance Marathon Bahamas race, completing the 26.2-mile course at Western Esplanade in 2:56:02 yesterday.
Back at the inaugural Marathon Bahamas in 2010, Boothe clocked 2:59:31 to win the race that year. Ten years later, he is back on top, and once again, he was also the lone competitor to finish the race in under three hours.
“I had confidence in myself. I came to win this. I was going after the national record,” Boothe said. O’Neil Williams holds the national record of 2:29:26, done in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, last year. Boothe, the first winner of Marathon Bahamas, held the old mark of 2:34:47, for 18 years before Williams broke that mark three years ago, and then lowered it to the current time last year.
Experienced runner Boothe said he made a mistake in his attempt to break the current record. He said that mistake was coming down too fast on the first bridge, and as a result, he felt his left calf stinging. With a sizeable lead on the pack, Boothe said he got a rub for his leg while running, applied it and continued running.
With his winning time, Boothe has met the qualifying standard for the Boston Marathon. That international marathon has a qualifying standard of 3:20. To date, he is still the only Bahamian to win the full marathon at Marathon Bahamas.
Boothe finished fourth at last year’s edition in a time of 3:08:51. This year, he improved by almost 13 minutes.
“Training for the marathon is plenty work because you have to put in some high mileage,” Boothe said. “My mileage was 90 miles per week. I need to go a little higher than that to get a little stronger. I will probably push it up to 120 (miles) for Berlin. My speed work is 1200 meters and I do 10 to 12 of them with short recovery.”
The 47-year-old’s pace was an impressive 6:45 per mile. He had the lead from the 10 Kilometer (K) mark and never gave it up as he passed the half mark, then the 30K mark and eventually keeping the lead at the 42K mark.
The Grand Bahama native said he has other races to run this year, and so he cruised to the finish line. He intends to run at the USA Championship in March and also plans to go to Berlin, Germany, to run, in October.
He also intends to qualify for the men’s marathon for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France, and he still wants to break the national record.
Jack Pitcher finished second when he finished the race in 3:11:01. He hails from Bristol, Great Britain. His pace was 7:19 per mile.
Running a pace of 7:50 per mile to finish third with a time of 3:24:37 was American Daniel Moran.
It was 61-year-old American Gwen Jacobson who finished first overall in the women’s full marathon with a time of 3:29:55. She was sixth overall.
Crossing the finishing line second in the female category was her running partner American Kasey Kuker. She finished the race in a time of 3:36:04.
Third place in that category was taken by American Linnea Laverty. She posted a time of 3:49:33.
The top Bahamian in the female full marathon was Michelle Jones. Her time was 4:13:42 as she finished sixth overall in the female category.
T-Bird Flyers won the full marathon relay category when they crossed the finish line in 3:04:56.
In the half marathon category, American Clay Askew was the overall winner when he burst through the banner in 1:16:00.
“The race was actually fantastic. The race conditions were great. The atmosphere and weather was great. The course was absolutely immaculate,” Askew said. “Finishing the course here then turning to the right and being able to look at the ocean and the beautiful blue water and having all the spectators just cheering for you was absolutely amazing.”
This was his first half marathon victory in his career and his first international half marathon. The 35-year-old said it worked out perfectly for him.
The South Carolina native can see himself coming back to run in Marathon Bahamas and defending his half marathon title.
He was a part of a group of 30-40 runners from the Charleston Running Club who took part in the event.
Finishing second to him was St. Martin’s Steve Duzanson, coming into the finish line in 1:24:50. Keithrell Hanna was the first Bahamian to cross the finish line in the half marathon, finishing in 1:25:10. That time was enough for him to finish third overall.
The first female to finish the race was American Mary Legare Whaley. She trains with Askew in South Carolina and finished the race in a time of 1:30:36.
This was also her first international half marathon. After the first bridge, Whaley said she just focused on staying out front.
“I was in fourth place I believe for the women. I started out very controlled,” Whaley said. “I kept making my way over the bridge toward Atlantis. At the downhill of the bridge on my way back, I was in first place and I just stayed there.”
Whaley said that she enjoyed the views after the turnaround. It was her first time running through a race banner, she said. She wants to come back to defend her title.
Finishing second was American Grace Dawson as she clocked 1:34:21. The best local female finisher was Tracey Eckert. The 33-year-old was able to finish the race in a time of 1:36:45.
Marathon Bahamas wrapped up a busy weekend that saw over 900 participants from 22 countries on the road yesterday. On Saturday, the 10th running of the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure was held. Hundreds of walkers and runners took part in that event.