Coors Light takes back relay title

POSTED: 11/12/12 1:36 PM

St. Maarten -Had it not been for a not so good performance from one of the runners on the Coors Light Relay team during the early stage who completed the 10 stage course with a time of 2 hours and 29 seconds, they would have established a new record.

The defending champions, Gym Fit from the French side of the island had to surrender their reign reluctantly, but finished in the second spot with a time of 2:03:28. Occupying the number three spot was Watt De Neuf, also from the French side in 2:13:50.

It was a beautiful day for running and long before the race started, excitement filled the air as teams prepared to affix numbers to their chests, made sure that the laces on sneakers were properly fixed and the runners took the adequate amount of beverages.

But seconds after the all female line up bolted from under the arch at the starting line, the more experienced runners positioned themselves at the front of what turned into a long line stretching back as far as the eye could see.

Leading that line was a runner from Gym Fit who set the tone and pace and when she finally arrived at the transition point in Paper Garden for the first baton exchange, she was ahead of the closest runner by a little over two minutes.

A little over 10 minutes after, Gym Fit arrived unchallenged at the third point in Sucker Garden and 14 seconds after was the Gendarmerie team sponsored by Dauphin Telecom and the runner from Team Coors Light was nowhere to be seen.

From Sucker Garden, it took the runner from Gym Fit to meet Mount William Hill; around 13 minutes and 47 seconds after was Dauphin Telecom, doing its best to keep up. But after ascending Mount William Hill, which was technical, it was smooth running for the race leaders, but things began to take shape somewhere at the back for Team Coors Light.

When Gym Fit arrived at the French Quarter exchange point, the team had managed to extend the lead on Dauphin Telecom, but Team Coors Light had moved up to the third position and was posing a serious threat despite the fact that two minutes separated the leader and Coors Light.

That gap narrowed by the time the race leaders reached the entrance at Orient Bay and got even narrower as the front runners ran along the airport road in Grand Case. Greg Pigeon, the runner at stage seven took over the baton, he realized that Team Coors Light was not far behind as he prepared to ascend Rambaud Hill, towards the Stadium In Marigot, the longest course of the race.

Randy Cuevas, a Curacaolenian who is no stranger to the event was clinical in his charge on the race leaders before making his move. That move came after they had passed the entrance to Pic Paradis on the downward stretch and Cuevas, who was still on cruise control took over the lead.

Team Coors Light, was never challenged from that stage of the race and for the remaining stages, it was just like another day at the office and that made Sam Bashir, a former member of the team now there to offer technical advice.

“The team that we have this year is far stronger that what we had last year, but what you have to realize is that one or two runners can make a difference on any team,” Basher said. However, it was not a very good start for the eventual winners as Bashir explained.

“In the first stage, we moved from the second place to the 13th place on the second leg and that was a very big distance to catch up but because I had fast runners, I knew we would catch up with the leaders.”

According to Bashir, they had to use a replacement runner when one dropped out last minute. “ Just imagine if that replacement runner had run better, what our time would have been, that would have been a new record and the lowest ever,” he concluded.

However, while the battle for the top spots has involved certain teams for a number of years, the enthusiasm among the newcomers and other experienced teams has increased. And considering that there were 50 teams in the race, just finishing in the top 25 is an accomplishment.








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