Messengers of doom rebuked
Anthony Raynor, race director of Bermuda Marathon Weekend, has allayed fears that the annual road running spectacle may not survive because of a lack of sponsorship.
The Royal Gazette reported last week that the lack of sponsorship is hindering the Bermuda National Athletics Association’s attempt to offer prize money for elite athletes.
However, while Raynor acknowledges that it is preferable to have prize money as an incentive, he also believes the event can survive without it and pointed to the spike in entries this year in the absence of monetary reward.
“If the funds were available then the organisers would be happy to [offer it], but I think the perspective has been thrown off,” he said.
“The athletes understand that there’s no prize money but they are here [regardless]. We have some elite athletes here and they understand where we are.
“I had a frank conversation with the [athletes] and said, ‘This is where we are, [I] appreciate it if you can join us’. They totally understand that no prize money will be available to them.”
Raynor said there is much more to Bermuda Marathon Weekend than prize money.
“I don’t think that the event is based on prize money. There’s a lot more to it,” he added.
“Less than 1 per cent of the participants have the opportunity to win, so I don’t think the majority of the people enter because they intend to win prize money.”
On Tuesday, running coach Larry Marshall expressed fears that the event may not survive because of a lack of funding. The father of top runner Lamont Marshall also claimed the event has been in decline for years because of “bad administration”.
In response to Marshall’s views, Raynor said: “There are two sides to every story and we all have an opinion, but I don’t see this event folding.
“The Government is in debt but the country didn’t fold because the Government is in debt. They are still going on and taking care of business, trying to manage their way out of the situation — and I will say that the [race committee] is also doing things to manage our way out of the current situation.
“I’m going to listen to whatever people want to say and try and take the good parts and use it, and the other parts I have to put aside.
“Is the comment about the demise of the event a fair statement? I would say probably not, but it’s where we are right now and we still have an event this weekend, so I can’t get caught up in somebody’s comments.
“I’m happy for what we have and there are a lot of people that give a lot. I’m happy and appreciative of those people who give a lot: from the sponsors that we do have, to the Government of Bermuda, the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Corporation of Hamilton and the National Sports Centre.
“Things are coming together and we’ve had a tremendous response to our request for volunteers. I really appreciate that.”
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