Mbelenzi On Bermuda Day Half Marathon

May 24, 2023 | 1 Comment

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Former island resident Dennis Mbelenzi believes three-times champion Lamont Marshall is the man to beat in the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby on Friday [May 26].

With Chris Estwanik, an eight-times winner, opting not to defend his title, a new men’s champion will be crowned this year, with Mbelenzi expected to be among the title challengers along with Marshall, Sean Trott and Sammy DeGraff.

Mbelenzi, who lived on the island from 2007 to 2019 before moving to Nova Scotia, Canada, finished second last year in 1hr 13min 29sec – 33 seconds behind Estwanik – and hopes for an improved performance this time around.

“I want to execute better this year,” Mbelenzi told Bernews. “I could finish below second place, but I want my time to improve.

“I have a lot of respect for my competitors. Lamont is incredible. I believe he’s better than me; however, I have the quality to win. I can run 1:10.

Dennis Mbelenzi May 26, 2023

“He’s more professional than me, spends more time training and recovering, but I don’t believe it’s a big gap. It’s probably a gap in tactics.

“Lamont will look around and be confident. He’s never one to go hard from the start and will probably keep it easy for the first 5k or so before asking the questions. We’ll see who comes up with the answers!”

The Kenyan also believes Trott, a three-times runner-up, has a “huge unexplored potential” and can wrestle the title away from Marshall in the 13-mile race from St George’s to Bernard Park.

“Sean Trott is great too,” Mbelenzi said. “He can run 1:05. I hope to talk with him at some point and share specific details [on how to improve as a runner]. He’s someone who can really execute with a few modifications. He’s capable of surprising a few people.”

As a non-resident, Mbelenzi will not be a champion even if he crosses the finish line first – a rule he believes the Derby Committee should reconsider.

“Lots of races have taken steps towards inclusion by welcoming many more people to participate and feel equal,” said Mbelenzi, who won the PwC Bermuda Marathon on his previous visit to the island in January.

“I believe the organising committee has room to catch up with the times. You must be a Bermudian citizen or resident for six months by race day [to win the race]. Well, I lived on the island for over ten years.

“My participation strengthens the race and doesn’t take away from it for the locals. However, I go by the rules, respect the rules, and race with the understanding that I can win, but it won’t mean I’ve ‘won’, although people will have seen who crossed the line first.

“I am grateful to be allowed to participate and thank the supporters of distance running in Bermuda and the incredible support they provide on race day.”

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  1. Ronnell says:

    Bermuda day is Once a year! A Bermudian should win race whether they come 2nd or 3rd or 6th!!!! Let’s us celebrate a Bermudian ..Period..

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