The hottest race in the history of the Oceania Gas Lalomanu Half Marathon is done and dusted, with pain forever etched in the faces of the victors after today’s tough hot race.
Maddie McGann is the big winner with the new Course record in the women’s race. McGann’s time of 1:51:22 was ten minutes faster than the previous record (2:01:27) held by Samoa’s Ariane Stevenson.
In the men’s race, Andrew Sexton of Auckland crossed first in 1:34:04. His was a tough race.
Sexton headed out in a flash when the horn went for the start in an effort to break away from the rest of the field. The chasing pack that included Savaii Marathon champion, Bobbi Carney (USA) and Steve Nimarota (Samoa) was no match for Sexton in the early stages, and gave up the chase mid race. The fast pace though took a toll on Sexton in the closing stages of the race. The heat was exhausting, and he was physically challenged going into the last kilometre.
“That was the hottest race I have been in. I probably went out too fast in the early stages and I didn’t stop for a drink when I should,” said Sexton. It was not a total unknown for the Kiwi. He has been this way before in terms of pain before gain. Also, he had the race in the bag. Meanwhile McGann was building her race in a steady pace. She too was in total control of her race. McGann was well ahead of second placed getter Lee Hukui of Auckland, but not without discomfort.
“This was the hardest race I have done. It was hot and tiring but I am glad to have to have finished it in good time,” McGann said after she crossed the finish line.
She has competed in one other Half Marathon in Australia but today’s time at Lalomanu is her new personal best in the distance. Sexton’s race and time today is below his PB or 1hr 29mins for the Half Marathon.
Whilst not many locals ran the Lalomanu event, the ones that were there made it count. Tini Lapaiali’i won the 10km in a good time of 44:10.
Fili Eteuati won the women’s 5km race, and Steve Nimarota finished 3rd in the marathon.
The biggest local accolade goes to Teine Kihara who finished well in her very first marathon running event in the 10km race.
The flat course from Lalomanu to Aufaga and return for the Half Marathon was praised by all the runners for its views and tidy villages enroute.
Today’s racing was an international affair with runners from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, United States and of course Samoa participating in four distances. The oldest competitor was David Wileman of Auckland who competed in the 10kms with his fellow Glen Eden Flyers.
The Auckland group are all in their 70s and came specifically to Samoa to participate in the Oceania Gas sponsored event.
Survivor Australia staff also took time out to compete. Production Manager Georgina Hinds and crewman Mark Mathieson competed in the 10km race. Hinds finished a very credible third in the women’s 10km race.
Men, Andrew Sexton (NZ, 1:34:04), Bobbi Carney (USA, 1:43:21), Steve Nimarota (Samoa, 1:47:42)
Women, Maddie McGann (1:51:22 New Course Record), Lee Hukui (1:57:47), Carly (2:14:35)
Men, Tini Lapaiali’i (Samoa, 44:10), Yusuke Yokoyama (Jap, 44:22), Richard Franc (Aust, 50:15)
Women, Eliza Beaseley (Aust, 48:02), Georgina Hinds (Aust, 55:09), Anna Blake (Aust, 55:28)
Male, Kunihiko Masaki (Jap, 30:13),
Female, Fili Eteuati (Samoa, 40:35)