Ashley Estwanik *Photo by Glenn Tucker
Ashley Estwanik *Photo by Glenn Tucker

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, UPDATE: Ashley Estwanik savoured a ‘sweet’ fourth Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby victory after destroying her own record time on Monday.

Estwanik beat Nikki Butterfield and defending champion Rose-Anna Hoey into second and third respectively thanks to a blistering run of one hour 21 minutes 22 seconds, taking more than 30 seconds off her previous best of 1:21:58.

She revealed she had some special fans urging her on during most of the race.

“It was so nice to hear my husband [Chris] and my dad, mum and my kids on the boat — all the way from Somerset Bridge into town I could hear them cheering for me,” she told the Bermuda Sun, adding that the crowd took over when she got into town.

“The last mile was pretty bad. Front Street is awesome, you think ‘I can do this’ and then you get to Queen Street and that hill, and even though you know it’s a hill, it’s still a hill! I pushed myself up that and then even Church Street, like, oh… my… God!

“From King Street to the last mile I just leant forward and let the crowd carry me.”

Butterfield, wife of men’s winner Tyler, was taken aback by the experience of running in her first Bermuda half-marathon.

The Australian triathlete said: “When Tyler and I first started dating I came here and watched him
race and I though ‘ah, I’d love to be able to run that one day. Someone said to me ‘well, you’re going to have to marry him to do that’ and I was like ‘well, we’ll see!’”

She added: “The crowds willing you on is really special and when everyone is going crazy, it’s amazing. 

“I’ve raced all over the place and it’s so rare that you get a local race like here in Bermuda that feels the same as a World Championships. I just want to thank everyone for coming out and for watching us.” 

Ashley Estwanik smashed her own Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby record today, taking 33 seconds off her previous best in 2010 in a commanding victory.

Estwanik’s win was the fourth Derby win of her career and the record ensured it was done in style, finishing well ahead of second-place Nikki Butterfield and Rose-Anna Hoey, who came third.

Estwanik clocked one hour, 21 minutes, 25 seconds, comfortably beating her time four years ago of 1:21:58.

With the target of a personal her goal this year, she had the required splits written on her arm to ensure she stayed on track. But the champion said it was the crowd along the last mile that ultimately carried her over the finish line.

She told the Bermuda Sun: “It was awesome, I felt really good. I just really wanted to break my record. I had my splits that I needed to run written on my arm so I kept looking. You get a little bit delirious after six miles so I was like ‘wait, where am I now?’

“I was a little bit under until a few miles to go and then I was right on it and I said to myself ‘don’t lose it now’.

“So, with about a mile to go, I knew I just had to really haul it in, which I did. That crowd on Cedar Avenue are really awesome so it was great and the support today was just unbelievable.”

Butterfield, wife of men’s winner Tyler, was taken aback by the vociferous crown in her debut Derby race.

A professional triathlete in her own right, the race marked her return to competition after the birth of the couple’s second child. Despite her wealth of experience, which includes winning the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, she admitted she almost got carried away by the atmosphere.

“I’m really happy to have been able to take part,” she told the Sun. “There were so any places where I was getting goosebumps running along – I had to tell myself ‘don’t run too hard, it’s not the right time to be really pushing'.

“I’m just really thankful to all the supporters and to the people handing out the water in the aid stations – I  didn’t really feel hot until the last mile because you had so many chances to throw water over my head. That just made for a nicer day and I just really had fun.”