Like it was a year ago, it was the same story at yesterday's second staging of the G.C. Foster College 5K Road Race in Angels, St Catherine, as Kingston College's Ugandan middle-distance runner, Arymanya Rodgers, and Hydel High's Monifa Green were crowned male and female champions. In the process, both significantly bettered their times done a year ago. Rodgers won in 15:22.18 seconds and Green stopped the clock at 18:37.11.
The pre-race hype between the unbeaten Rodgers and Oshane Archibald of G.C. Foster did not disappoint, as running under very hot and humid conditions, it was a ding-dong battle for majority of the way. It was Rodgers who took the early lead, ahead of the G.C. Foster pair of Garfield Gordon and Archibald. At around the 2K mark, it was the three runners, along with Lenford Adams of Knox College, who separated themselves from the pack.
Looking more relaxed in the latter stage of the race, Rodgers showed his class, finding an extra ounce of energy to step away from Archibald. When Archibald approached the G.C. Foster College entrance, it seemed the challenge between himself and the Ugandan had taken a toll on him, as he faded close home and was passed by teammate Gordon, who finished second in 15:32.54. Archibald took third in 15:34.95, as the first three went under 16 minutes, the first time ever this has been done in a 5K road race locally.
Rodgers, who said that it was the first time he had ever collapsed at the end of a road race, was happy with his win, but stated that the condition was extremely tough. "It was a good race for me," Rodgers said. "The competition between myself and Archibald was good and I am pleased with my time," he continued.
Like Rodgers, Green also made it back-to-back victories and followed up her recent success at the Pump It Up Mico 5K by winning in 18:37.37 seconds, bettering her time convincingly to take the female section. G.C. Foster College's Shanice Gordon, like she did at Mico, had to settle for second in 19:21.29, with third going to Hydel High's Jodi Ann Campbell in 19:35.43.
"I am very pleased to know that I came out and defended my title, and to know that my time was much faster than last year's. This is good preparation for me going into (the ISSA GraceKennedy) Boys' and Girls' Championships next year", said Green.
G.C. Foster won the male team title ahead of Bellefield High, while among the females, it was Hydel who were first, with Holmwood Technical coming second.
Meet organiser and acting principal of G.C. Foster College, Maurice Wilson, was very pleased with the day's overall proceedings." I am extremely happy with this our second staging, as the number of participants was much higher this time around and the competition was great," he said. "The times were extremely fast by the top athletes, and this is good for middle-distance running in Jamaica."
Wilson also said that he is hoping that the athletes continue to compete in several more of these races as it will be good for them going into the 2018 track season.