Guyana’s undisputed middle and long distance King Cleveland Forde and CARICOM 10K winner Tonya Nero on Sunday won the male and female categories of the 20th Wartsila 20k road race which concluded on Water Street.
Forde, the University of Guyana student, also known as ‘The Little Kenyan’ ran off with the first prize of $300,000.
His winning time was 1:10:00s.
Running Brave’s distance athlete Cleveland ‘Fish’ Thomas was second in 1:10.38s and Dennis Horatio of the Police Progressive Youth Club third in 1:10.52s. Forde, who recently assisted the UG Barbados Relay Festival team to a gold medal at the annual event, survived strong challenges from the Trinidad-based Kelvin Johnson who faded and eventually crossed the finish line in fifth place in a time of 1:12.34s.
Johnson, Winston Missenger and others earlier in the race took the race to Forde who prevailed.
Johnson and Lionel D’Andrade, another Trinidad-based athlete faded badly with D’Andrade finishing fourth in 1:11.03s, due to cramps.
In the female category, US-based Euleen Josiah-Tanner was the pre-race favourite but she crumbled to the Trinidadian Nero who recorded 1:19.37s. Nero has once again proven that she is force to be reckoned with at the Caribbean level as she claimed the $300,000 first prize.
Independence half-marathon champion, Josiah-Tanner, the first female local to finish the race came 11 minutes behind Nero while 20-year-old Alicia Jack clocked 1:33.10s ahead of fourth place finisher Alika Morgan (1:34.10s).
The youth boys’ category was dominated by Running Brave athletes Anfernee Headecker (17:26s), Mathew McKenzie, Joshua McKenzie and Joshua Walcott in the 5000m.
CARIFTA Games and Inter-Guiana Games (IGG) medalist Andrea Foster grabbed the girls’ version in 20:13s while Linden’s Cassie Kirton (20:50s) came second and Shantel Hinds third.
The male and female junior 20K winners were Carl McKenzie and Yolit Charles who won with times of 1:17.18s and 1:54:00s respectively.
The Master’s Men 40-55 age category was won by Barbados-based Orin Josiah who clocked 1:23.42s and the Women’s leg by Cyrleen Phillips in 1:47.39s.
The other Masters category (56 years and over 5000m) saw Llewellyn Gardner winning in 19:21s.Aubrey Hutson, President of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) expressed his gratitude to Wartsila before congratulating the athletes for participating in the event which he said plays a major role in the sport.
Arron Fraser, Contract Manager of Wartsila, expressed his satisfaction with the event. It was also mentioned at the presentation ceremony that a shorter race, a 10k will be set for next year’s edition.
The AAG is expected to continue with its planned activities as the year progresses.