BELAIR--An elite team of runners from the French side’s Avenir Sportif Club clocked the fastest time of 2:18:36 to win the 32nd Around the Island Relay Race on Monday, shaving four minutes off last year’s winning time set by SXM Tri- Academie.


  SXM-Treme 1 was second in 2:20:14 and SXM Tri- Academie third in 2:26: 46. Avenir Sportif had kept a fairly low-profile last year, finishing in 15th place, but this year Coach Patrick Trival assembled a team that included some super star runners: Omarco Robinson, Steve Duzanson, Hugo Mercadier, Anthony Seguin, to name a few.
  “I placed the best runners on the more difficult legs and that strategy paid off,” explained Trival who added he is focusing on high performance training.
  The French side teams were once again very competitive. SXM Tri- Academie missed some of their top runners through injury or absence. “But we are still very happy with third place,” said Erwan Gentil whose 11-year-old son Tao, ran the finishing leg.
  Fourth place in the adult teams went to the French side Fire Brigade (Sapeurs Pompiers) in 2: 37:27 and fifth place to Tri Sport Tigers in 2: 41: 33.
  From the teenage teams, Dynamic Teens won the Teen Team category in 2:50:59, SX-Treme Green Tiger Juniors were second in 2:53: 28 followed by French Quarter Junior High School in 2:54: 16. The youngest runner in the Dynamics Teen Team was eight years old.
  The Pre-Junior Team category was won by Dynamics Juniors in 3:25:05 with CIA under 14 students second in 4:02:30.
  The Remarkable Feet award was presented to Mimi Hodge from the Pain Cave Team. Hodge was recognized as a fine example of someone who has turned their life around to become fitter and healthier despite the adjustments and hard work it takes, and she has continued to persevere. The Best Dressed Team award went to SXM Philipinas.
  NAPA car parts store owner Mike Ferrier awarded a US $100 certificate to Alvin Connor who made the closest guess of the combined age of the over 60s, 70s, 80s team. Connor came up with 780 although the true combined age is 788.
  “My God you are old,” joked Ferrier to his team, of which he is a member. “For old people, for young people, St. Martin Day is for all people.”
  Bienvenido Montas brought the baton home for the over 60s team to a resounding cheer from the spectators.
  Trophies this year were created by Marci Cooke from rocks collected from Wilderness Beach and various coloured Telem cables left over from Irma. All finishers received medals.
  Complete results and split times are on Tri Sport’s website. Some 38 teams competed in the relay race organized by St. Maarten Road Runners.