Marathon Bahamas ready for the off

by RENALDO DORSETT Sports Reporter rdorsett@tribunemedia.net JUST days remain until runners from across the globe submerge on the capital for the second annual running of Marathon Bahamas and organisers are making the final preparations along the race course. Race weekend begins Saturday with the Susan G Komen Bahamas Race for the Cure, where competitors will get an opportunity to compete in a charity event on Paradise Island. The Susan G Komen Race for the Cure is back for the second consecutive year in the Bahamas in a weekend of breast cancer advocacy, awareness and support. The 5K race is set to start at 7am and features several categories, including individual, youth and team divisions. Sharlyn Smith, chair of Survivor Recognition, said the major appeal of the event will be to benefit local breast cancer research and support. "It's about raising awareness for breast health needs that are facing Bahamans. "We all are aware of the critical breast health needs that are facing Bahamians and one 100 per cent of the funds raised from the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure stays in the community and they assist entities that are at the forefront of the fight against breast cancer in the Bahamas," she said. "The response has been phenomenal and it is something that corporate Bahamas has really responded well to. The real impact comes through participation so we want to have as many people participate as possible." The Susan G Komen Race For The Cure is a 3.1 mile run/walk starting at the front of St Matthew's Church (Church Street) to the bottom of the west Paradise Island bridge and finishing west of Atlantis' Royal Towers beginning at 7am. On Sunday, local and international competitors will line up to contest both a full 26-mile marathon or a 13-mile half-marathon. Last year, the Bahamas had a strong presence with Sidney Collie crossing the finish line as the first place finisher in the marathon. But it was later revealed that he actually made a wrong turn on the western end of the course and he was disqualified. "No one was there on the bike and no one was there to tell me that I still had to go further out," Collie said after his disqualification. "It was only about a mile out. I could have easily done that and still be out front. I was ready. I trained all year for this. I'm really upset." Eventually, the first place finisher was named as Simone Maissenbacher, a competitor from Germany. "It was very hard. I was running alone for about 15 kilometers, so it was very hard at the end," Maissenbacher said. "It was very nice, the people are great. I've never been here. It was wonderful." American Joel Pettit - who got married the day before at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort - came behind Maissenbacher to win the men's title. "It was great. I didn't expect the hills on the western end. They were quite a surprise," he said. "But the crowd around there was great and they kept me going because I really didn't know where I was going." Grand Bahamian Delroy Boothe, who had been training in Orlando, Florida, was considered the top contender to win the marathon, but he had to bow out after he suffered a light hamstring injury in training. He started the course, but only managed to complete half of the route. Randy Thurston, sixth overall in 3:35:40, was the first Bahamian to successfully complete the course. So far, a total of 37 Bahamians have already signed up to compete in the full marathon, down from the 57 that participated last year. A total of 95 visiting competitors have inked their names on the application forms, surpassing last year's total of 77 from last year. Additionally, 196 Bahamians have registered to participate in the half marathon, slightly down from the 242 from last year. Also, 207 visitors have registered for the half marathon, a decrease from 220 from last year. There is also an opportunity for competitors to band together to compete as a relay team. So far, 104 teams have registered, less than the 180 from the Bahamas last year. A total of 20 visiting teams have entered, increasing last year's number of 18. For persons interested in participating, the window is still open. Organisers will close the registration at midnight on Wednesday. Inquiries can be made at Sunshine Insurance.


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