Mile got the better of me - I won’t forget it
In the 1980s, at least a year before the elite mile race was introduced to the Bermuda Marathon Weekend schedule, a celebrity race was held along Front Street. Adrian Robson, one of the island’s well-known journalists and a competitive road runner, was among the entrants. He describes the experience.
The lungs were bursting, the knees buckling and the head swimming. And there was still 300 yards to go!
Even for a finely-tuned road runner this was a completely different experience.
Yet it had to be done to properly complete the road race resume — a one mile dash has to be on any self-respecting road runner’s itinerary.
It was the early 1980s. Road running was booming and any challenge presented was there to be conquered.
With a rigorous training regime coupled with a temporary alcohol abstention, we could all dip beneath 40 minutes in the 10K and smash the three-hour marathon barrier and hardly break sweat (couldn’t we?)
The mile seemed a piece of cake. However, this addition to an already packed road running schedule was to prove a little more arduous than previous endeavours.
As the gun sounded, we jockeyed for position — the same bunch who congregated almost every Tuesday at the Botanical Gardens for a two-mile run, which served as a useful tool for increasing fitness and promoting some friendly rivalry.
Now, before the thousands of spectators who had gathered on Front Street, this was a chance to show what we were made of.
A gallop towards the Birdcage didn’t seem too worrisome, not when compared to the exhausting climb towards the finish of the Princess to Princess road race two weeks earlier.
But as the race continued along the length of Front Street the pace was unrelenting.
Middle-of-the-packers like myself could occasionally cope with six-minute per mile pace over five miles. But now the legs were being asked to sprint into unknown territory. And they didn’t like it.
How could such a short race inflict so much pain? Surely I can’t be the only one suffering. But suffering I was, horribly.
The heart was willing, but the body was rapidly wilting. The sight of the finishing clock in the distance didn’t bring any relief. The legs were already shot.
Wobbling across the finish line, I dropped to the pavement in humiliating exhaustion.
Front Street had got the better of me, and I won’t forget it.
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