BELIZE CITY–He has been a marathon champion from his Wesley College high school days back in the early seventies, and Ezekiel “Wally” Usher remains the most active veteran Belizean distance runner on the international scene, making regular trips to some of the prestigious marathons and half-marathons on the American circuit.
In his most recent endeavor, Wally left Belize last Wednesday, December 10, and returned on Monday, December 15, after participating in the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Ted Corbitt 15K (9.3 miles), which started at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 13, in Manhattan, New York, under a blistering cold 36 degrees temperature. This particular race is named after Ted Corbitt, who died in 2007 at age 88, and, according to the NYRR web site, is “the first African American to run the Olympic marathon (Helsinki, 1952)” and “won countless awards during his lifetime. He was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame earlier this month.”
A total of 4,486 runners, both male and female, of various ages and nationalities, completed the race; and Wally finished at a respectable 333rd position overall, and 10th from among the 113 male runners in his 55-59 year age category. He completed the 9.3 miles in a time of 1:05:17. The 55-59 category winner, American Greg Diamond did the journey in 0:57:32; while the overall winner of the event was Diriba Degefa Yigezu, 27 yrs of Ethiopia, who completed the race in 0:47:45. (5 Ethiopians finished in the overall top 10.) The overall female winner, Jodie Robertson, 30 yrs of New York, finished in 0:53:15.
Wally said he hopes to get Belize’s reigning half-marathon champion, 28 year old Leon O’Brien, introduced to the organizers of some of the major events in the U.S., so that O’Brien can get invited to launch his international career next year. He thinks the foreign races will allow O’Brien to race more regularly against tough competition and thus achieve his full potential.
Wally said he would like to thank those who helped to sponsor his latest trip to compete internationally: National Sports Council, Customs Officers, Smart, B.W.S.L., Tropical Aquaculture, Puma Oil Company, Well Worth, Simon Smith, Stewart Family in New York, Evan X Hyde, Raul Cawich, and Vince Waight.