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Ballantyne finishes down the field again

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Do not count out Pamenos Ballantyne when it comes to road racing in the Caribbean, despite his down the field placing in two recent regional races. And, he promises to bounce back at the NEMWIL OECS Half Marathon to be held here November 15.{{more}}

Ballantyne turned in his worst performance in the University of the West Indies (UWI) SPEC Trinidad and Tobago Half Marathon. Christened for the past decade as the Caribbean’s top distance runner, Ballantyne finished ninth in the 13.1 mile event, in one hour, 13 minutes, 14 seconds, which was run last Sunday morning in the twin-island republic.

The sixth edition of the annual UWI race had the largest field, and was won by Kenyan Alfonso Yatich, a debutant in the Trinidad and Tobago event, with his countryman, but who resides in the USA, Simon Sawe, second. St. Lucian Zepherinus Joseph placed third.

Yatich clocked one hour 6 minutes 47 seconds; Sawe, one hour 8 minutes 56 seconds and Joseph one hour 9 minutes 09 seconds.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Jones and Ronnie Hollassie placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Jones’ time was 1 hour, 10 minutes, 09.3 seconds and Hollassie one hour 10 minutes 55.7 seconds.

Ballantyne blamed a recurring hamstring injury in his left leg, which was responsible for his poor showing.

It was Ballantyne’s second consecutive under par placing in a regional road race, which in previous years were forgone conclusions and were meat and drink for him.

The previous weekend, the 35-year-old Ballantyne came in 11th in the South America 10K, which was contested in Guyana.

Next weekend, right here on his home soil, Ballantyne will be trying to dethrone four-time winner of the OECS Half Marathon, his new found nemesis, Joseph.

Ballantyne, a nine-time winner of the event, finished fourth last year in a time of 1 hour, 30 minutes, 07:92 seconds.

Looking ahead to next weekend’s race and a promised improved performance, Ballantyne told SEARCHLIGHT last Tuesday: “I am putting in mileage on the grass at Arnos Vale, but no speed work, as that is affecting my hamstring”.

The distance runner projected that with all things being equal, he can do very well at the Peruvian Vale to Kingstown event in just over a week’s time.

The last time, Ballantyne headed the winner’s podium in the sub-regional race was in 2004.

Ballantyne, also a winner at the Trinidad and Tobago Clico Marathon, having done so on seven occasions, has for five years now been unable to add No.8 to the list.

He last won the Trinidad and Tobago Marathon in 2004. Ballantyne, though, has the distinction of notching up five consecutive wins from 1997 to 2001. The other triumph came in 2003.

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