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(SNO) – Saint Lucian Olympian Zepherinus Joseph took part in his first competitive race since 2013. over the weekend in Martinique, and he says he was excited just to hit the road.
Aged 43, Joseph competed in the men’s marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics and was named Saint Lucia’s Sportsman of the Year for 2005 and 2009. He holds a slew of national records and Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States record for the 10 kilometres and indoor mile. A nagging injury to his calf effectively ended the elite career of one of the Caribbean’s leading distance runners, but ever the competitor, Joseph has always refused to let his body get the better of him.
As part of a national (territorial) sports day in Martinique, Golden Star Athletics organised a five-kilometre road race last Sunday, specially inviting Joseph and fellow Saint Lucian, Jason Sayers. This race, comprising two loops of the Zac (Rue me Laminar to Ernest Hemingway Street), is the first of a long series of Golden Star Centennial celebrations that will take place in 2019.
Part of the proceeds from registration was donated to the local Parkinson’s committee, a strong partner of Golden Star. Well over 200 runners, walkers, wheelchair competitors and corporate representatives, amateur and elite, lined up for the start of the race at 6 a.m. on Sunday, September 23.
When the dust had settled, “Zeph” was, naturally, the first masters athlete across the line. He finished seventh overall, in 17:37 (17 minutes, 37 seconds), a far cry from his 2001 national record run of 14:25.20. The winner crossed in 16:09, whilst Sayers ended in 19:06.
Nonetheless, the evergreen Olympian was thrilled with his performance, saying:
“As a runner when you compete you always expect to win, but there are times you have to be grateful when you actually finish. The past five years were very hard, and last year it got worse, but I’m slowly getting back on my feet. This race today told me that I’m on the right track, and if I continue doing the little things I will soon be back up there with the big dogs. I didn’t win today but I came seventh and yes I’m very satisfied. I will now head back home and go do what needs to be done. Thanks to all who believe in me and thanks to my club Golden Star for the support because without them I would be done with the sport.”
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