The 85th cross country race was held this weekend with a Belizean coming out on top. 73 Belizeans, 14 foreigners from Mexico, Guatemala and the U.S.A. – kicked off from Mile 1 ½ on the George Price Highway from 6:00 a.m. Saturday, en route to San Ignacio Town and back for a 142-mile distance. Last year Western Spirit’s Giovanni Choto produced a punishing run from just outside Belmopan and riding up to San Ignacio then back down all the way to the City alone, embarrassing the field. This year, despite a heavy pace that produced near-record runs both to San Ignacio and overall, there would no substantive breakaways, going and coming. Juan Pablo Magallanes and Carlos Lopez of Mexico, riding for Benny’s Megabytes, found they were unable to get away for longer than a minute. Belizeans listening on the radio and television were devastated when Santino’s lead cyclist Marlon Castillo, the winner of the Belmopan Classic less than a month ago and the man said to be riding with the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, fell in a collision and reportedly broke his collarbone and one of his arms. But Darnell Barrow of Santino’s, a regular contender who was not regarded as a pre-race favorite in favor of the injured Marlon Castillo – beat the field for his first title and 12th for team manager Santiago “Santino” Castillo Jr. . The champ, who finished in 5 hours and 46 minutes, spoke to PLUS News about his win.
Santino’s manager Castillo told reporters that Darnell Barrow was motivated by all the pre-race talk about his teammate Marlon Castillo, and when asked to come through for the team after Castillo’s injury, he delivered.
Santiago “Santino” Castillo Jr:
To be honest with you, when I said to Belize that the main man was Marlon. that [annoyed] Darrel, and I think that led to a lot of what’s happened here today. He needed to prove to me that he was still the man, and he was the man.
As for a disappointed Brandon Cattouse, he blamed tired legs.
Barrow took home five thousand dollars cash, numerous trophies and other prizes. Magallanes won $3,000 for second prize and Delong $2,000 for third.