By Laurice Laird
It was a warm Sunday afternoon in July which saw the Brixton community respond to the challenge; a 100m sprint to find the fastest across all age groups. That’s right, it was the second Brixton Bolt competition.
Crowds of competitors and spectators gathered on Pope’s Road to welcome in the annual event. The crowd cheered in support and excitement from the youngest competitors to the oldest sprinters, which proved as rewarding as the prizes on offer.
Undefeated champion of the over 40’s men’s race Paul Marriott, crossed the line with a time of 12.92 and was able to spare a few words.
He said: “It was good, but I think this year’s was harder. I trained hard for it for about 10 weeks. Last year was pretty close, there were more people, but same result. I might start running for the Herne Hill Harriers, and run for the veterans team, so they’ll be the over 50’s.
When asked if he had any advice for next year’s competitors he said: “I’ll be back. Second place is up for grabs. The only way you can come first is if I’m not running.”
He struck the famous pose, and remained confident for next year’s challenge.
After coming second last year, Maria Clayton-Innerarity returned victorious as the fastest woman in the over 40’s category with a time of 14.79.
Maria said: “I was very nervous because everyone’s watching. I wasn’t sure if I’d win, last year I came second so you never know.”
“I feel good. I gave the other lady a head start. It pushed me.”
Her daughter Samara Innerarity also competed in the competition, winning the fastest under 12’s female title with a time of 14.57.
The men’s final was a hotly anticipated event, and tensions were felt all round for the close race. Byron Robinson stormed to victory with 10.44 seconds with Andre Nembhard a close second at 10.59.
Byron, Men’s winner, said: “I was supposed to do this last year, but [I couldn’t] due to unforeseen circumstances. I saw Andre win last year and I was like ‘no’ ‘no’ I have to win.”
“Nervous is not even the word. I was lined up against my brother, and just beat him. That played on my mind aswell.”
When asked whether himself and last year’s winner Andre Nembhard were still friends he said: “He did say that he’s definitely gonna get me next year. I’m actually an athlete so it’s an extra race for me.”
Laurice Laird, women’s winner, said: “I entered at the last minute I hadn’t even trained, so I didn’t know how it would go. By the final I was tired, but I had competition so that motivated me to pick it up. It was jolly good fun though, and a pleasant atmosphere.”
For the full story on my experience, click here.
Jaeda Nembhard, niece of last year’s winner Andre and winner of the under 6’s, said: “I feel happy to win. It was tough. Someone ran next to me so I had to run fast. I didn’t think I was going to win.”
A huge congratulations to everyone who took part, the community who offered their support and encouragement and the local businesses that sponsored the event organised by Tom Shakhli and the whole team of volunteers.
The event is set to return next year to crown Brixton’s fastest 2014 champions.