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Smaller End-to-End goes ahead despite Covid-19

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End to End: Walkers in St. Georges (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The AXA End-to-End drew a smaller than usual but enthusiastic crowd to Bermuda’s roads at the weekend for the annual tradition.

A woman who named herself only as Joliana said: “It’s about the snacks, the music and especially the atmosphere. It’s about fun.”

She was biking with two friends from Elbow Beach to Devil’s Hole, as she stopped at the Butterfield water station.

Joliana, on her sixth End-to-End was joined by first-timer Stephanie, who came out “just for the experience of it”.

End to End: John Smith's Bay (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Stephanie added: “The fee that we pay goes to charity, of course.”

This year’s recipients of funds raised from Saturday’s event are the Bermuda Zoological Society, Vision Bermuda, the Garden Club of Bermuda and the Family Centre.

LaChelle, cycling the route for the first time, said that on top of the camaraderie typical of the event, she was driven to go out “for the exercise”.

Sam Pacheco, the Butterfield Bank assistant president of marketing, said her team of volunteers were out from 6.30am to 1.30pm.

Ms Pacheco added turnout was well down on previous years.

She said: “Normally by this time you would have seen 1,000 people.”

Organisers estimated about 500 people were out walking, running and cycling this year.

But Ms Pacheco said: “There’s absolutely the same high spirits. People are enthusiastic, energetic – it’s a different format this time, so who knows where they started or where they’ll finish. They’re all doing their bit.”

Samantha and Sam from Island Restaurant Group, both of whom were cycling from St George’s to Dockyard, stopped by off by the Botanical Gardens in Paget for a quick refresher before they continued west.

End to End: Walkers in St. Georges (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Samantha said: “It’s amazing. We’re out for a nice bike ride and a good cause – and we’re doing it for the lemonade.”

Sam, a second-timer, said cool weather and sunny skies made for “a good time biking with a friend” and that“every stop was awesome”.

Tamisha McNair, a client manager coordinator at insurance firm Argus, who manned a water stop near Ariel Sands in Devonshire, said: “This year definitely isn’t like usual.”

Ms McNair said they had not seen the usual colourful characters passing by in the traditional costumes.

She added a lot of people were just out for the walk, and there were “some more children as well”.

End to End: AXA staff give out granola bars to bikers at John Smith's Bay (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms McNair said: “Everybody’s enjoying it. And we’re adhering to the rules.”

Covid-19 made for a free-form End-to-End, without the usual start line at daybreak in St George’s, and mask use was enforced at water stops.

Robin Millett, an Argus underwriter, said the stops had been “sporadic” but that spirits were undaunted as always.

Ms Millett added: “I did the Middle-to-End in 2016. It was lovely – it’s good fun. It’s all about the atmosphere and the community.”

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Published October 24, 2020 at 5:03 pm (Updated October 25, 2020 at 7:07 pm)

Smaller End-to-End goes ahead despite Covid-19

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