FOUR Western runners created history yesterday by winning the Suva race of the Olympic Day Run at Albert Park.
Ravnil Rinesh Kumar, of Nadi, ended another Nadi runner Sanjay Kumar's six-year unbeaten streak at the event to claim first place in the open men's individual event.
The 17-year old ran a time of 30.08 minutes to beat Sanjay (31.48s). In third place was Rajan Kumar, also of Nadi, in 35.48 minutes.
In the female open individual event, Alisha Dickinson, another runner from Nadi, clocked 40.22 minutes to win the race ahead of Brendra Lowry (42.52) and Ester Morrel (43 minutes).
Votualevu College student Ravnil, who won the Nadi event last year, said he came to Suva because of the distance of the race.
"The Nadi race is five kilometres and I ran there for a few years so I wanted to try a longer race since this was eight kilometres," he said.
"I could have had a better time if I knew the track but I didn't so I had to stop and wait for other runners or officials or people on the road for directions."
He said he was hoping to return next year to defend his title.
Dickinson, who represented Natabua High School at the Coca-Cola Games, said she had been winning the Nadi race for the past six years and she said she came to Suva for better competition.
"There are less females long distance runners in Nadi but here there are a lot and I am happy with my performance," she said.
She will not be back next year to defend her title because she has received a scholarship to study and train for athletics in the United States.
Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) chief executive officer Lorraine Mar said despite a drop in numbers, there were many good aspects of this year's race.
"FASANOC's Women in Sport Commission and STOP HIV also featured in Olympic Day Celebrations this year by providing volunteers for the event," Mar said.
"Women in Sport were active in promoting Olympic Education in the Suva "Kids Corner" while STOP HIV conducted their advocacy on the prevention of HIV and AIDS," she said.
"And despite unfavourable weather forecasts, runners were blessed with perfect running conditions in Suva and Nadi."
She added the Ministry of Health community health check program was a success because they received good response from the participants.
"Also for the first time we used electronic timing in the races and this enabled us to get the accurate timing of the athletes.
"FASANOC gratefully acknowledges the support of IOC Worldwide sponsor McDonald's, Tuckers Ice Cream, Event and Party Hire and the many corporate organisations who provided prizes for the runners.
"FASANOC was also assisted in Suva by Subhas Chand and Ian Curtis, who led the Rotaract Team of volunteers from Yat Sen Secondary School and a band of volunteers in Nadi coordinated by Dave Dickinson and Vineel Nand," Mar said.
In the Nadi race, Fiji triathon national Rep Nau Dakuiliga was the first female finisher in 22.49s with Lavinia Dickinson second in 23.29.
The first male across the line was Avikash Lal in 16.42s with Emanuel Woodley coming second in 18.03.