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$10,000 prize for fast times in mile races

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Fastest woman: Kenia Sinclair, of Jamaica, set a course record of 4:33.1 in the Front Street Mile elite women’s race in 2011 (File photograph)

The winners of the Butterfield Front Street Mile elite races can take home a $10,000 prize if they run fast enough.It is not an easy task. For the men to claim the big prize it means winning and breaking the magical four-minute barrier, a time that has never been done in the 31-year history of the race.Meanwhile, for the first time an equally large prize is offered to the first woman in the elite race to break 4min 25sec.The return of Butterfield Bank as title sponsor of the Friday night races has meant the reinstatement of the jackpot prize, which was originally offered for many years after the men’s elite race was first held on January 13, 1989.The inaugural race was won by Dave Lamont, of Canada, in 4min 11.3sec. Two years later Britain’s Steve Cram, whose then-world best was 3:49, set a new course record of 4:04.6. Afterwards, he said he believed it would be possible to run a sub-4 on the course. Leonard Mucheru, of Kenya, came closest to the four-minute barrier when he won the 2002 race in 4:02.6.The women’s elite race was not added to the weekend until 2009. The course record stands at 4:33.1, set by Jamaica’s Kenia Sinclair in 2011.While Front Street appears relatively flat, there are gradual inclines in places. In addition, the course features tight turnarounds at the Birdcage and Longtail statue, where runners generally have to decelerate, momentarily.The mile races traditionally attract hundreds of spectators. The Butterfield Front Street Mile evening also features races for primary, middle and senior school students, as well as local men and women races, and co-ordinated waves of mile races for competitors competing in the weekend-long The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge. The Challenge runners only will have a slightly modified course from previous years. The starting line is nearer to the Birdcage, and the second turnaround will be at the junction with Spurling Hill.The races are scheduled to start at 7pm.

Fastest man: Leonard Mucheru, of Kenya, wins the 2002 Front Street Mile elite men’s race in 4:02.6, which is still the course record (File photograph)