Tyler Butterfield high-fiving the crowds as he nears the finish line. *Photo by Don Burgess
Tyler Butterfield high-fiving the crowds as he nears the finish line. *Photo by Don Burgess

Tyler Butterfield outlasted Stephen Allen and Jay Donawa to win his first Bermuda Half Marathon Derby title.

Butterfield crossed the line in a race that was wide open after five-time defending champ Chris Estwanik was forced to pull out because of an injury.

Butterfield said he was not confident he would win the Derby.

“You never want to underestimate your competition. I was nervous about Jay; I wanted to keep him in sight. I made sure I could see his shirt and the lead cars for most of the race.

“At one point I couldn’t see him around a corner or two and had to speed up. He definitely made a race of this. He made me go out of my comfort zone. At mile nine, my legs felt like they started to cramp and that’s because I had to chase Jay.”

Butterfield, who is a professional triathlete that has represented Bermuda in the Olympics in that sport and cycling, said he was also concerned about Allen.

The Derby winner ran alongside Allen in the early stages of the race.

“We ran together for the first three or four miles and I was nervous about those two because they were both playing it smart.”

Butterfield said it was “special” winning Bermuda’s most historic road race but “the main thing is enjoying the day. This is a public holiday and a day for Bermuda to enjoy. It doesn’t matter what place you come in; you can enjoy it no matter what place I come in.”

And enjoy it he did.

Like in years past when he finished in the top five, Butterfield took time to give high fives with the kids and other spectators near the finish, happier to enjoy the moment rather than worry about his time.

“A lot of people tease me ‘You might race away, but you haven’t won the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby’ so I definitely wanted to add it to my resume.”

Butterfield said he and Donawa spoke to each other at the start of the race and said, “If we knew Chris wasn’t going to start two months ago, we would have crammed in two months of good training. But we’re all in the same boat though.”

10:15 AM: Tyler Butterfield won the race as the crowd cheered on the first new winner in six years. Stephen Allen came in second with Jay Donowa in third.

Rose-Anna Hoey is the winner in the female category with Ashley Estwanik in second.

Five-time defending Derby champ Chris Estwanik had to pull out due to an injury, giving the rest of the top runners a chance to claim a Bermuda Half Marathon victory.