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‘My family keep me grounded but sometimes I feel disrespected’

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Recognised achievement: Dage Minors breaks the tape to win the Front Street this year, having become the first Bermudian winner of the race in 2018 (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

There is nowhere quite like home and for Bermuda’s premier middle-distance runner Dage Minors there is only one place in the world he wants to be.

Minors is the only one of the island’s 11 Pan Am Games athletes to be based full time in Bermuda and as he prepares for today’s 1,500 metres final in Santiago, Chile, he reveals that returning to Bermuda in 2020 is the best decision he has ever made.

“One thing I’ve learnt in the last two years is that everything has to click and I’ve been able to find a decent balance in Bermuda,” Minors said.

“I train, I have good support and my social life is good. I left Bermuda when I was 14 and was away for ten straight years only coming home for summers.

“Having lived away from home and at home, it’s all personal responsibility.

“I always get confused when people in Bermuda say you can get distracted here as you can get distractions anywhere in the world, I can guarantee you that.

“One of the things that bothers me is that people think nobody can do anything here. They think you can’t train properly here. If you want it, you can do it.”

It’s been a summer of upheaval for Minors, who has left coach Zach Emmerson after ten years to link up with James Thie at Cardiff University in a move that the 27-year-old found hard to make.

Setting the pace: Dage Minors leading the way in the PWR Men's Elite Mile race at the Monument Mile Classic in Stirling, Scotland (Photograph by Bobby Gavin)

“It’s still a bit sore as my old coach coached me from the ages of 17 to 27,” Minors said.

I just felt the coach to athlete relationship wasn’t the same and wasn’t what I wanted. The new coach has a similar approach but I just needed a different voice and at times I wasn’t feeling motivated.

“He may not agree on it and that’s fine. It wasn’t about getting better, it was just that I wasn’t happy about the approach he was taking with me in certain situations.

“Some things I wanted him to be a bit more engaged in he wasn’t. Other things I didn’t want him to engage in he was; it was just a bit of a disconnect.”

Minors is pleased at the nascent relationship between himself and Thie, and is happy with the feedback he receives despite his coach being based nearly 5,500 miles away.

“We talk pretty much after every hard workout on WhatsApp,” Minors said.

“I explain how it felt and he looks at all my splits, heart rate and things like that and we just feed off each other.

“I train almost all the time by myself and for some workouts that’s difficult as sometimes you need help. I may not hit the time because halfway through I just needed someone to block the wind or something like that.

“A lot of runners find it is a solo journey and not everyone is lucky enough to have training partners every day of the week, so, hopefully, when I go over to Cardiff, not on a full-time basis, I can jump in with his group.”

Minors is competing in the biggest middle-distance race in the world this week and is annoyed that he is known on island as a two-times Front Street Mile champion rather than for his achievements on the international stage, which recently included a bronze medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games.

Dage Minors (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“I think the medal was a bit downplayed,” Minors said. “It was the first track medal at CAC Games for a long time, but it is what it is. In years to come, people might look back and think it was a monumental occasion.

“It takes a lot to impress Bermudians and we are very critical. We’ll big you up and drag you back down. My close family and friends keep me grounded but sometimes I feel disrespected. I’m not expecting anybody to roll out the red carpet, that’s not me, but the CAC Games was a big deal.

“Sport is a big part of the culture here, but I don’t think we understand the work it takes to get to this next level. “I feel like people here always introduce me as the Front Street Mile champion, but I am the first Bermudian to run a sub-four-minute mile. I don’t want to come across as woe is me, but sometimes I do feel disrespected.”

Minors has been in good form internationally in the last 18 months and puts that down to a change of mindset in the last few years.

Dage Minors breaks the tape to become the first Bermudian Front Street Mile winner in 2018 (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“Since Covid came in 2020 I have changed my approach,” he said.

“I’m more one day at time, this is my workout, and let’s get better today. It’s not that I don’t want to reach the heights and it’s a cliché, but trust the process.

“I just think when I lay down tonight that I have got better today and stack the days. It took setting goals, failing and feeling a bit worthless to work that out.

“Most of us are losers. In an Olympic Games and a World Championships there is only one winner, so most people who go are losers. You have to accept that you may not win, but it doesn’t change you as a person or take away from anything that you’ve done. I think that’s the thing that has made running become a lot easier for me in the last few years. I used to live and die by training and racing.”

Minors is also looking to help the future of Bermudian running by affording younger runners the mentorship he was not offered.

“There is a good crop of young guys in college now and I’m showing them what’s possible,” Minors said.

“I didn’t have that. The guys above me were just a little bit older and they were good guys, but I didn’t get that help.

“It was nice that the moment I broke four minutes, the first person to ring me was Terrance Armstrong and I broke his mile and 1,500m record. Both of them had stood since 1997, so for him to reach out was amazing, but when all is said and done, do I want my record to stand for 20 years? No, I don’t.

“If my record lasts until 2040 I would feel let down that I raised the game, but no one came with me. Records are meant to be broken, but I want mine to be broken within five or six years. I want someone to want to be better than me.”

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Published November 02, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated November 03, 2023 at 8:10 am)

‘My family keep me grounded but sometimes I feel disrespected’

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