Thomas, Mondon top record-breaking Sigma Run

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, February 18, 2019

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First-time participant Henry Thomas and triathlete Elisabeth Mondon proved too good for the competition, as they finished tops in the men's and women's open run category at the 21st Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run yesterday.

Thomas and Mondon were among a record-breaking turnout of 27,028 participants at this year's staging of the annual run, walk and wheelchair 5K race held in New Kingston, surpassing the previous best of 26,519 participants last year.

A record $52.4 million was also raised for beneficiaries The Lupus Foundation of Jamaica, Diabetes Association of Jamaica and the May Pen Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Thomas, of UCT Steppas, followed up on his victory at the Crystal Spring run earlier this month with another sizzling performance in the open run category, which is based on the best gun time and includes all registered runners.

The 22-year-old stopped the clock in 17 minutes and 39 seconds, some distance ahead of Rainforest Seafood's Kemar Leslie who came home in 18 minutes and 55 seconds, with Kosiani Dunkley of Tax Administration Jamaica back in third in 19 minutes and 02 seconds.

Though his winning time was not as brisk as his seasonal bow of 16 minutes and 41 seconds, Thomas was elated about the victory — which was virtually a gate-to-wire performance.

“I am elated; words can't express how happy I am at the moment. It was a good run, and I enjoyed the route for the most part. The only challenge was coming back on Hope Road where there was an incline, but apart from that the route was excellent and I had fun for a worthy cause — while staying healthy and fit — so it was well worth it,” the soft-spoken Thomas told the Jamaica Observer.

“I'm not surprised that I won by a wide margin, although I didn't really come in with a set strategy. I just came in to try different things and it all worked out in the end. The time may have been a bit slow because I didn't really have much pace in the first half of the run but, like I said, I am very pleased,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mondon, who hails from the tiny French island off the coast of Madagascar called Réunion, and who arrived in Kingston back in 2007, is a 10-year veteran triathlete and her class was evident in yesterday's win.

The 39-year-old completed the journey in 21 minutes and 28 seconds ahead of Kelly Ann Beckford, who clocked 23 minutes and 09 seconds, while Sun Island's Jozanne Harris was third in 23 minutes and 58 seconds.

Mondon, who revealed that she represented Jamaica in triathlon at 2014 Commonwealth Games, was happy to be back on the Sigma circuit after last competing at the largest road race in the Caribbean in 2011.

“I'm very happy to support it because it's for a worthy cause and I think it's very well organised. to have 27,000 people participating, I can't see any better. The route was very hard because you need fitness and strength to finish, so my strategy was to start strong and lengthen my strides as I progress, so I can finish in the best shape as possible,” Mondon shared.

“I didn't know if I had won but I heard this bicycle beside me saying first female, so I was very surprised. I didn't see any school girls at the front; I was expecting more young girls, so I was a bit disappointed because there weren't many females at the start,” the petite triathlete noted, adding that she will be in action in Puerto Rico next month.

Like the open run, the open walk category is also based on the best gun time, and Duwell Allen topped the men's section in 28 minutes and 52 seconds, ahead of Lenworth Hunter (31:56) of Kingston Freeport Terminal and Gladstone Johnson (32:39).

Anna-Kay Swaby finished tops on the women's side in 34 minutes and 44 seconds, followed by former national javelin thrower Olivia McKoy (35:42) and Paula Sinclair (36:30) of UCT Steppas.

In the wheelchair category, Paralympian Alphanso Cunningham (25:59) came out on top in the men's category, with Navardo Griffiths (27:05) and Marcus Banton (30:05) taking the runners-up spots.

Another Paralympian ,Sylvia Grant (30:59), won the women's section ahead of Sashagaye Thompson (32:10) and Vinnette Green (36:11).


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