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Dobson, Bennitt capture Firefighters Ten Mile Road Race

Both winners improved on second-place finishes in 2023.

THUNDER BAY – Perseverance pays off.

A year ago, Jett Dobson and Rebecca Bennitt couldn’t find the proper pacing and both runners finished second at the Firefighters Ten Mile Road Race.

Fast forward 12 months and, after making a few adjustments to their race plans, both cruised to easy wins on Monday, winning on a rain-soaked course that kept them cool and focused on the task at hand.

Dobson, set to enter his final year at Lakehead University, where he’s a member of the track-and-field team, said as a youngster, he watched the race for years, knowing one day he wanted to cross the finish line first.

“Me being able to come back and win this race, especially after finishing second last year, feels amazing,” Dobson said.

He trailed other runners for much of the first half of the race, but said once he reached the halfway point, Dobson said he began to gain ground on the leaders and once he pulled ahead, he never looked back.

It all went according to plan, he said.

“Last year I made the mistake of going out a little to quickly. This year I wrote down, on a piece of paper, my plan. My plan was initially to come through a little slow, stay controlled, stay relaxed, stick with other people and try not to work too hard and make it too hard on myself,” Dobson said.

“Then after the hill, once I know I’ve done the hardest part of the race, it was just time to hammer back, slowly make up the distance without taking it out all at once, pacing myself and hopefully make my way to the front so that I can take the win in the race.”

Dobson said he caught the halfway front-runner, Eric Mann, with about three kilometres to go.

"The other guys, I started catching them after the hill. I didn’t really start making up ground to the latter half of the race.”

Dobson crossed the line about 12.1 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger, Adam Blazino. Mann was another 15 seconds behind, in third.

Bennitt, the top female finisher, was about 10 minutes behind Dobson and about 63 seconds ahead of last year’s women’s winner, Emma Vaillancourt.

The 32-year-old said it was a relief to finally capture gold.

“I think I’ve run this thing four times now and last year I came second. So, it’s nice to finally win,” she said. “I think this year I just ran a smarter race. I was more consistent overall throughout the whole race instead of running fast and then dying in the end.

“I felt really good the whole way.”

Jamie Kovacic took third place in the women’s competition.

More than 500 runners took part in the race, in its 88th running.

There were also about 240 people registered to take part in the relay portion of the event.

The full results are available here for solo races and here for relay. 

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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