Fabrizio Alvera set for gruelling Bermuda Backyard Ultra title defence
Fabrizio Alvera concedes it is impossible to mentally prepare for the challenge of defending his Bermuda Backyard Ultra title.
In what proved the ultimate test of perseverance and resilience in last year’s inaugural event, the 56-year-old surpassed his own expectations, completing an impressive 25 loops, more than 104 miles and 24 hours of running, to prevail in a field of 60 competitors.
Ahead of taking to the start line at Clearwater Beach, Southside, today, to embark on the first of 4.167 mile loops, Alvera concedes the only factor he is prepared for is the prospect of having to again face the personal battle of pushing his own limitations.
“Even though I’ve done the event before, I genuinely don’t know what to expect because so many factors affect the race, said Alvera on the event, which sees all runners start together on the hour, every hour and continue until they fail to complete a loop, known as a yard, in the allotted time or they voluntarily withdraw.
“You can’t really set yourself a target because it all depends on how many people are willing to keep going. It could be ten hours, it could be 25 hours, all I know is I’ll be there and trying to just keep going one more lap.
“It all depends what happens on the day and that is what makes it hard to prepare for.”As well as the daunting challenge itself, Alvera will also have to contend with a vastly increased field of 110 competitors, all of whom have the added incentive of trying to earn a spot on Bermuda’s team for next year’s World Team Championships.Although his selection is secure, having won last year’s event, Alvera warned rivals he will be competing as if he was still battling for his berth.
“There is a much larger field of runners this year and so that makes it even harder,” he added. “They also are offering a place on the national team for the World Championships and so people have that extra incentive to go further, so I expect this year’s race will be on another level to last year’s.
“Even though I’ve already qualified for the team; I’m still focusing on the race as if I haven’t. Even though it will be great to compete in the team event, I’m not thinking that far ahead.
“I know how tough this event is and how hard it is to keep running for that long and so all I’m focusing on is to just keep going again.
“It’s not an easy thing to do; I can tell you that and so that’s my mentality is just one more lap at a time.”