Weather can’t dampen End-to-End enthusiasm
The End-to-End event was “one of the best yet” despite foul weather and fewer participants, organisers said this weekend.
About 400 walkers and cyclists braved thunderstorms and rain on Saturday compared with the usual 2,000 participants but it was hoped they would hit the $100,000 fundraising target.
Anne Mello, chairwoman of the Bermuda End-to-End Charitable Trust, said that the spirit of the event remained strong.
Ms Mello added: “The numbers of participants is important but what is more important is what we offer in bringing the community together.
“There was music at the water stops, neighbours were out watching people go past, we had hundreds of volunteers, which contributed to the energy and enthusiasm of the day.
“It was one of our best events yet – it felt like Bermuda was back in business.”
She added: “We are absolutely delighted with the event and want to send a huge thanks to everyone who participated, the volunteers, spectators, sponsors and donors – all of Bermuda.”
Ms Mello said: “We have such compassion and gratitude for charities we support.
“The first is the Chromebook Project providing laptops to schoolchildren.
“Covid-19 exposed the divide between those who had connectivity and those who didn’t.”
She added that cash raised used would also be used to support Age Concern.
Ms Mello said: “The charity’s executive director Claudette Fleming believes that our seniors need to be resilient in times to come and there is so much more we can do to make them stronger and more independent.
Thunder and lightning overnight and heavy rain could have made the event a washout.
But undeterred walkers and cyclists hit Bermuda’s roads before sunrise to raise cash for charity through the AXA End-to-End.
The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, was among the first-timers determined to stay the full course despite earlier thunderstorms and the threat of rain.
Bishop Dill said: “When the thunder shook the house at 4.30am, I thought, ‘what on earth am I getting into?’”
He was speaking as he made a pitstop for water on South Road in Devonshire with Robin Stowe, his son-in-law, a teacher at Warwick Academy.
The two said that about 50 people had set out in the staggered start of the 34th annual End-to-End at first light in St George, with the roads still soaked from thunderstorms.
Both were on foot and enjoying the lucky break in the weather as the worst of the weather skirted the island to the south.
Bishop Dill said: “It’s entirely my son-in-law’s fault – my daughter is away, so I took her spot. We’ll see how it goes.”
Volunteers handed out cups of water near Ariel Sands at the stop for the charities Guardians of the Reef and the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme.
Cheryl Mapp, a co-ordinator at the stop, suggested a break to a thirsty woman runner who stopped to rehydrate.
But the woman said, “I’ll get a stitch”, and kept on going.
Weldon Wade of Guardians of the Reef, who has come to hand out water on behalf of the charity for six years, said the End-to-End numbers looked about one-tenth of the usual turnout.
He added: “Many people may have woken up and decided just to do the Middle-to-End because of the weather.”
There were three routes of different lengths and an e-sport feature this year for people to support the fundraiser on a virtual basis.
But there were plenty of trademark blue shirts heading west on South Road by 10am.
Many workers from overseas were among them.
Matt and Gabriel, from Canada, were walking the full course with Brendan, from South Africa, who recently arrived in Bermuda.
Matt said the group planned to do a similar walk on their own until they heard about the End-to-End.
Gabriel added: “It’s a great way to see Bermuda.”
Salman Hyder, who has been working in Bermuda for about two months, walked from Warwick to St George earlier this month and enjoyed the Railway Trail.
Georgina and Paula, two accountants from South Africa, came to Bermuda in January.
Georgina said: “We planned to do it and we’re not going to let a little rain stop us.”
A Bermudian regular, Shawnita Furbert, was out with her son, Shawnai.
Ms Furbert said: “I’ve done this for many, many years. I’m a veteran.
“It’s about the enjoyment. I just love doing it. I’ve always been an active person.”
She added that a rod and pins in her right leg from surgery a few years ago were not a handicap.
Shawnai said he had done the Middle-to-End before, but never the full course.
He added: “It felt challenging this morning in the wet and cold. My mom does the full one every year, so I decided to come out with her.”
The End-to-End has raised $6 million for charity over its history and has notched up more than 55,000 participants.