Runner of the Year

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STILL SMILING: Water in hand, the winner of the 2016 Runner of the Year award, Bobby Carney leads from the front.

STILL SMILING: Water in hand, the winner of the 2016 Runner of the Year award, Bobby Carney leads from the front. (Photo: Seti Afoa )

At the end of each year Samoa Events (SE) acknowledges local and international athletes that have competed in many events throughout the year. 

In 2016 SE ran 67 Event Days from January to December of Running, Cycling and Swimming events on their own in various forms. 

There have also been multisport events where all three disciplines have come together in Triathlon Events. 

The Awards include any overseas races our local athletes participated in.

Bobby Carney had two outstanding runs this year that set him apart in long distance running in Samoa for 2016. He won the inaugural Savai’i Marathon in April. 

That was a big run. He then followed that up with a second placing in the Lalomanu Half Marathon three months later. 

Samoa Events ran eight standalone races this year plus the Magik FM People’s Run series that is currently running. 

That Series is 22 weeks during Daylight Saving period.

The premier event of the races this year was always going to be the sole Marathon on the island that Bobby won outright.

The Savaii 42km distance was a Point-to-point race that started at Saleaula Lava Fields and finished in Salelologa in front of SSAB and ANZ. 

Bobby’s win in Savaii was impressive. It was his first marathon, and the first marathon on Savaii. 

The Savai’i victory was great reward for the young American’s commitment to the race. Bobby’s training regime was solitary, always on his own, up and down the sea wall in Apia and around the town. 

He is one of only three locals to run a marathon this year, anywhere on the planet. The other two, also in the Savaii marathon, are Samasoni Nimarota and Daniel Afoa. 

There were no women starters in the Savaii marathon, but Madeleine McGann should be congratulated for her two wins this year, at Lalomanu and winning at Falefa on Saturday. 

Maddie’s win at Lalomanu was a new Women’s course record for the Half Marathon 1:51:22. 

In the Savaii marathon Samasoni Nimarota came close to winning the event, but he fell short by 15 minutes. He finished in agony from many cramps, and many stops, along the way. 

Daniel’s finish was no less epic. His time of 6hours 22mins is a marathon in itself. It was almost two hours behind Bobby’s winning time. That, in the context of long distance sport is less important than finishing. It was also his very first marathon, outside the five Ironman events he has finished. 

In July Bobby finished second in the Lalomanu Half Marathon in a time of 1:43:21. 

It was a strong field that day that included Savaii Half Marathon winner Steve Nimarota (1:47:42), and Lalomanu race winner, Kiwi Andrew Sexton (1:34:04). 

Steve Nimarota could can also be considered for Runner of the Year award - he had a great season with the win in the Savai’i Half Marathon to go with his other wins in the Oceania Gas Run Series at Falefa (10km, Jan), Apia (10km, Feb) and South Coast (12km, Feb). 

But Bobby’s effort in winning the only marathon on Island this year goes a long way to earn him Runner of the Year award for the season. 

Local Running achievements in 2016

Bobby Carney, Savai’i Marathon 1st, Lalomanu Half Marathon 2nd 

Madeleine McGann, Lalomanu Half Marathon 1st & Course Record, Falefa Falls (Nov) 1st  

Steve Nimarota, Savai’i Marathon 1st (Half); Falefa Falls (Jan) 1st, Apia 10km, South Coast 12km – 1st

© Samoa Observer 2016

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