The best middle distance runner we have right now in the country is young Steve Nimarota of Leusoali’i. At the South Coast run earlier today, he blitzed the field again to claim his third win in the BOC 2016 Handigas Run Series. Such is Steve’s domination that no-one is anywhere near him in the 10km distances.
Today’s distance was put up a notch, to 12kms. Steve’s run in 54mins 07secs was at a staggering 4.30 min pace. That is every 1km in 4mins 30s. It is staggering, but slower, or equals his Falefa Falls pace. That was a 10km distance with lots of hills.
Today’s run in the flat at Safata, the race started at Maninoa to Vaie’e and return, was also in much cooler conditions than the Falefa run. The difference is, Steve did not have the equally swift Stuart Young sniping at his heels today. So, a casual pace for Steve, staggering enough for us mere mortals.
It is a wonder young Steve is not in sight of Samoa Athletics for national honours. He is clearly heads and shoulders above anyone else in the 5-10km range.
Young Steve is very engaging, with a glint and a smile at the end of every race.
“I thank God today for a good race. The day which God made is very good.”
“Everything was good, I was happy with the day.”
“Magaia foi le kamo’e, maguia mea uma. Faafekai lava.”
But you have to push him, a lot, to get past the generic lines.
“No, I was not worried today. The palagi guy (Stuart Young) that usually pushes me wasn’t here. I looked behind me and saw that it was my younger brother Apisaloma who was following me, and I know I can thrash him anytime.”
“When I am being pushed hard, and there is a relentless pursuit from someone like the palagi guy (Stuart) it is then that I get really worried.”
“But as I said, I was lucky Stuart was not here today. Anyway he has missed a couple of mid-week runs, so maybe he is not as fit as he was a three weeks ago when we last raced in Race 2 at the Waterfront in Apia.”
What Steve forgot was Stuart ran the 6km race that day and not the 10km distance.
With those words, and a good race, young Steve is sitting pretty on top of the BOC Handigas Series ladder. His next challenge is still six weeks away in the Savaii Marathon where he will contest the Half Marathon distance.
That is a different ball game, and he will definitely have a challenger in the long course legs of Stuart Young, and Kuniyoshi Watanabe who is the Lalomanu Half Marathon defending champion.
There was one entry in the women’s 12km field, with Kat Sabel of Don Bosco returning after a two week running sabbatical due to a toe infection and a gastro virus. She was brave today and crossed the line in 82mins, almost 30 minutes behind Steve.
“I ran slower than a turtle in peanut butter in the pouring rain.”
“But I finished and I won the female race, helps being the only entry in the women’s group,” Kat said after the race.
Ty Feekings took out the 6km race in the men’s distance in 31:09. Tony Callaghan claimed second place just ahead of Paul Bolger.
Toni Nicol won the women’s 6km in 42:17. This was her second win in the series and the longest distance she has run. Her first win was the 4km in Race 2 three weeks ago.
In the 4km distance Ben McCallum won his first short distance of the series.
In the men’s table, Steve Nimarota has a perfect score card, followed by David Schinkel and 12yr old Kolani Sekai of Saoluafata Triathletes.
Points are scored in all races. Maximum points are allocated to 10km for both men and women (100), 6km 80km and 4km (60kms). Runners score points in every race.
The BOC Handigas Series is excellent preparations for the first Marathon of the Year in Savaii in six weeks’ time. That inaugural event, on April 16th, offers a full marathon, half marathon, 10km, 5km and 3km. All the races are point to point with the finish at Salelologa town. The Savaii marathon is the third event in the inaugural Savaii Games, which opens with the Upolu-Savaii Swim on 7 April.
The next official race of the BOC Run Series is the Saturday following the Easter break on 2 April.
Series Leaders Points
Steve Nimarota, 300pts
(three 10km races)
David Schinkel, 288pts
(three 10km races)
Kolani Sekai, 269pts
(two 10km races, one 6km race)
Toni Nicol, 198pts (two 4km races,
1 6km race)
Kat Sabel, 195pts (two 10km races)
Libby McCallum, 116pts
(two 4km races)