HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) — Jamaican Stephen Allen made it fifth time lucky when he won the adult local men's mile race on Front Street's looped course as the renamed Bermuda Marathon Weekend got under way on Friday night.
Allen pulled off an upset with a comfortable win over pre-race favourite Juma Mouchette.
A Bermuda policeman and part-time football referee, Allen recorded a time of four minutes and 33.42 seconds, more than seven seconds quicker than Mouchette, who appeared to a pull a hamstring towards the end of the race.
Mouchette finished second in 4:40.69 ahead of third placed Ryan Wilson (4:49.50).
"I'm very happy with this victory; it was my fifth attempt and I knew coming into the race there were a lot of youngsters who are very quick," said Allen.
"I have come third about three times and finished fifth once so I'm really happy to finally win. I only run this distance twice a year so I don't get much practice, but when I do I give it everything I have got.
"I saw in the media that Juma was the favourite based on the qualifying times. But it's all about who runs the best on the day, even if you're the faster person going into the race."
American Heather Kampf held off seven rivals on the eve of her 26th birthday to win the women's elite mile with Jamaican Mardrea Hyman back in seventh.
The Minnesota resident hit the tape in four minutes and 49 seconds to finish ahead of nearest rivals Sarah Brown (4:50.7) and Phoebe Wright (4:53.45) as American runners swept the podium.
Hyman was clocked in 5:12.34.
With last year's winner Korene Hinds of Jamaica unable to defend her crown as she is pregnant, Kampf and Brown fought tooth and nail for the vacant crown in a thrilling race that went right down to the wire.
Kampf made her move with a long driving kick 300 metres from the finish and managed to cover her compatriot the rest of the way to win the event at the first attempt.
"Last year I did a lot of road miles which has really brought a lot of momentum to my career and it's great to celebrate the start of the year with this one (victory)," she said afterwards.
The men's elite mile race went to Kenyan Julius Bor, who stole the show with an impressive victory in his first run in the Bermuda event.
Bor did not quite manage to become the first runner ever to break the magical four-minute barrier in the Bermuda race and claim a US$10,000 bonus on offer, finishing in 4:06.45 ahead of Stephen Pifer of the United States (4:07.67) and Zambia's Jordan Chipangma (4:09.52.)
The marathon and half-marathon close out the three-day event, formerly known as Bermuda International Race Weekend, yesterday.