Mulenga wins Front Street Mile

Harry Mulenga crosses the finish line to win the KPMG Front Street Mile. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead.
Harry Mulenga crosses the finish line to win the KPMG Front Street Mile. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead.

Harry Mulenga continued his blistering form by winning the Elite Men’s KPMG Front Street Mile after a stunning finish in Hamilton on Friday night.

The Zambian clocked 4 minutes 5.76 seconds as his kick for the line proved too much for Diriba Yigezu, of Ethiopia, in second (4:05.97) and Jordan Chipangama, of Zambia, in third (4:07.39).

Mulenga, who returns to his studies in America at Central Arizona College on Monday, would have won $10,000 had he broken the four-minute mark and the win comes hot on the heels of his victory in the Fairmont to Fairmont 7.2-mile race, where he broke the 24-year course record.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “I’m speechless. It’s a good achievement to come down here and to see what I could do. I feel great and I thank Almighty God for this victory.

“It’s not an easy thing, you know. It requires a lot of hard work, concentration, focus and dedication every day. It’s not easy to wake up every day and go running!

“I really appreciate everything and everybody who has helped get me to this stage.”

He added: “After the first 200 metres I thought ‘I will do this no matter what, I will do it’. The guy who was leading was also from Zambia (Chipangama) and when I saw him kicking I thought ‘now is the time for Zambia, let’s go now!

“So when it came for the last 400 metres so I started kicking.”

In the Elite Women’s race, American Heather Kampf successfully defended her title with an excellent run of 4:44.89, proving too strong for fellow Americans Sarah Brown in second (4:46.16) and Lauren Hagens in third (4:53.14).

Local favourite Tamika Williams came home fourth in a time of 5:10.34.

Kampf told the Bermuda Sun: “It felt like a great night to run fast and I was really happy that I felt prepared for it.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t say I did a lot of work in the early parts of the race, I tried to really maintain my relaxation and just run with the pack. Once I got around the barrier back there and started coming back I just decided that when I get to the moment when I feel just a little bit antsy I’m going to go for it and never look back. That’s exactly what I did.

“That’s pretty much what I’ve done for every road mile race! Just trusting my instincts and going for it but I’m a lot fitter this time of year than I was a year ago because we have indoor US Championships to qualify for the worlds teams in February so I’m sharp, which aided the time.”

She added: “I love it here. There really are people the entire distance of the race. It’s so exciting and really keeps you motivated and having someone local in the race with us (Williams) really kept the crowd energetic. I just like to interpret all forms of cheering, whether it’s for me or not, as for me!”

Elsewhere the Adult Local Male race produced a rip-roaring finish with popular policeman Stephen Allen (4:47.86) having the legs to hold off young Juma Mouchette (4:50.90) as well as Ryan Wilson (4:52.12).

The ever-impressive Ashley Estwanik powered to victory in the Adult Local Female in a time of 5:11.55 ahead of Jennifer Alen (5:18.43) and Deon Breary (5:31.68).

In the Adult Local Male Masters, Glen Wilks was way ahead of the pack, winning in 5:18.85, with the inimitable Kent Richardson in second (5:35.10) and Sean Kelly third (5:50.60).

There were standout performances in the Senior School races. In the Girls’ event, highly-rated Kyrah Scraders, of Berkeley, won in a time of 5:19.74, while Warwick Academy’s David Darrell was the Boys’ champion in 4:48.68.

Ashley Irby, of Saltus, was the Middle School Girls race (5:27.54), with Aaron Jacobs, representing T.N. Tatem, winning the Boys event in 5:05.25.

And finally, the Primary School Boys’ race was won by Warwick Academy’s Nicholas Pilgrim (5:38. 93), while the Girls’ mile saw Jade Johnston, of West Pembroke, triumph in 5:51.21.

Photo by Nicola Muirhead.