BELIZE CITY–We await the details of the race results in the various categories of Saturday’s BDF Sports Day races, namely the Half Marathon, the 10k and the 5k, as well as a number of shorter distances around the grass track at Price Barracks. But one thing we know for certain, and that is that 28-year-old Leon O’Brien continues his reign as king of long distance running in Belize, winning the Half-Marathon by a significant margin ahead of his perennial closest competitor, 29-year-old Kenrick Duncan.
In the Half-Marathon race (13.1 miles) on Saturday morning, leaving from around Mile 4 on the George Price (Western) Highway, travelling through Belize City and on to the Philip Goldson (Western) Highway, to finish at Price Barracks in Ladyville, Leon once again “blew away” the field, coming in all alone to register another triumph in his long list of Half-Marathon successes in Belize.
A self-employed farmer of Biscayne Village in the Belize District, Leon voiced his dissatisfaction with the scarcity of distance race events on the local scene, which would give more inspiration for runners to train harder. For example, he reminded us, the traditional Holy Saturday Half-Marathon, which runners look forward to right after the commencement of the Cross Country Classic, was not held at all this year. The fault, we would have to believe, is with the leaders of the Belize Athletics Association (BAA), the body in charge of athletics in Belize.
Leon’s motivation right now, he says, is the annual Placencia Half-Marathon, a private international event which takes place in the first week of December. Both the Placencia Marathon (26.2 miles) and Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) were won last year by Mexican runners (from Chetumal) in both the male and female categories. In last year’s Placencia Half-Marathon event, Leon placed second to Mexico’s Andy Gonzalez in a field of 131 finishers (including 36 foreigners). Gonzalez completed the run in 1:15:09, while O’Brien clocked 1:16:54, about 3 minutes ahead of third place Carlos Corzo (1:19:55) of Guatemala..
We will have other results of the BDF Annual Sports Day races in our weekend issue.