November 20, 2009
Ballantyne settles for fourth in OECS half-marathon

St. Lucian Zepherinus Joseph strode to his fifth consecutive lien on the OECS Half Marathon last Sunday.{{more}}

The 34-year-old Joseph, in the 26th edition sponsored by NEMWIL/Guardian Life and the National Lotteries Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, finished first in a time of 1hour 14 minutes 13 seconds, his sixth title in the OECS event.

The St. Lucian was ahead by over one minute to second place, Victor Ledger, who finished in 1 hour 15 minutes 21 seconds. The 43-year-old Ledger did a brief jig before he crossed the finish line.

The St. Lucian duo was followed by Trinidadian Curtis Cox. The 41-year-old Cox was a just under a minute behind Ledger in a time of 1 hour 16 minutes 13 seconds. Joseph collected US$1,000, Ledger $700 and Cox $500.

But the man on whom Vincentians hopes were pinned, Pamenos Ballantyne struggled to the finish line on Bay Street in 1 hour 17 minutes 35 seconds, earning $300.

Trailing the top four was Trinidadian Jules Larode in 1 hour 20 minutes 43 seconds. Larode pocketed $200.

A relaxed Joseph, who won his first OECS Half Marathon in St. Kitts in 2003, told SEARCHLIGHT that he was tactical in the race. He alluded to teaming up with Ledger in blunting the main contenders, including Ballantyne who has seen nine victories, more than anyone else in the duration of the OECS Half Marathon.

“It was pretty good run. I was not thinking about time. I just wanted to defend my title,” Joseph told SEARCHLIGHT minutes after he refreshed himself from the 13.1 mile race, run in intense Sunday afternoon sun.

Revealing that at present he is not really motivated to run following his disappointment in the cancellation of the Caribbean Games last July, Joseph thought he did well enough to maintain his hold on the sub regional title.

Joseph said that he will be heading to Martinique in a week’s time for that country’s Half Marathon as he also prepares for the Run Barbados Series early in December.

Ballantyne, in his defence, said he was contemplating dropping out at one point of Sunday’s race after suffering “cramps” which may be a re-occurrence of an anemic condition which was diagnosed some years ago.

“I was going to drop out. Because of home pride, I continued”, the-35-year-old Ballantyne told SEARCHLIGHT.

He is dismissing the criticism that he is running too much and needs rest.

“I know my body. I know what I can do,” Ballantyne said emphatically.

“I have won 18 marathons and a number of half marathons,” Ballantyne said of his enviable record over the past 17 years.

Ballantyne will be in it again November 29, as he defends his hold on the Anguilla Half Marathon and the Barbados Marathon December 6, which he won last year.

Trinidadian Shermin Lasaldo was first among the females. Her time was 1 hour 39 minutes 18 seconds. Second was Vincentian Lisa Daniel. The 37-year-old Daniel’s time was 1 hour 43 minutes 27 seconds. Grenadian Kenisha Pascal clocked 1 hour 50 minutes 39 seconds, to finish third.

Vincentian Nadia Delpesche was fourth in 2 hours 4 minutes 30 seconds, and fifth was Trinidadian Samantha Shukla in 2 hours 9 minutes 49 seconds.

The five top female finishers received the same prizes as their male counterparts.

In the veteran’s category, Leonard Ballantyne of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was first for the males. His time was 1 hour 47 minutes 0.5 seconds. Venice Wattley of St. Kitts was first in the veteran female segment. She finished the course in 2 hours 29 minutes 50 seconds.

The oldest competitor was 58-year-old Vincentian Raymond Bernard.

Forty-two persons started the race just outside Mr. Fritz in Spring, with five fewer making it to the finish line.

The last competitors to reach the finish line were Louise Mitchell Joseph and Jermine Cambridge who arrived in semi darkness. Both recorded the time of 3 hours 3 minutes 17 seconds.(RT)