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Race legend Kavin Smith set for surprise Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby return

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Nine-times champion Kavin Smith is looking forward to making his return to the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby this year (File photograph)

The mere thought of competing in the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby never entered the mind of race legend and record-holder Kavin Smith until a cruise changed all of that.

The prestigious race’s most decorated runner caught the running bug again cruising around the European continent to celebrate his 57th birthday in January.

“I went away on a cruise for my birthday and I am not one for inside activity, so rain, blow or shine I am going outside,” Smith, who has won the race an unprecedented nine times, told The Royal Gazette.

“I am a cyclist so I got on the spinner. But that was boring so I just hopped on the treadmill.

“Part of the reason I stopped running was because it was just too uncomfortable for my Achilles and lower back.

“But it felt nice so when we stopped off in England, I went for a three to four-mile run and ended up doing like a six to eight-mile in an hour run.

“When we got back on the boat, I did a little more running on the treadmill and also when we stopped off in France and Germany.

“I was running for over an hour and it felt great, so I continued it on and I have just been running since I got back.”

Smith, who is making his first appearance in the race in three years and second in nearly a decade, has also remained active competing on the local mountain bike scene since returning from his cruise.

“I run two days, take a day off and I am still riding just as much and I have been feeling comfortable,” he added.

“That’s where I am and it wasn't even like an inspiration, per se, as it was happenstance that led to where I am today.

“It’s been really a different journey and so much learning from a different perspective I have been saying, ‘God, are you doing something special here?’ because this feels pretty nice.

“Now when I say that it's nothing to do with as far as being competitive to try and win or anything like that. It's just the idea of running really comfortable and feeling really good and I am totally satisfied and happy with that.

“I can be tired but my body still feels good. I have never experienced that type of comfort in running, so I am just excited about that and here I am.

“The atmosphere is going to be nice coming down and I am excited just to come down and feel comfortable.”

Lamont Marshall is back to defend his Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby title this year (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Smith is competing among men’s field that also includes defending champion Lamont Marshall, whose fourth triumph in last year’s race was marred by controversy after he was the second runner to cross the finish line behind Dennis Mbelenzi.

The Canadian resident, who lived in Bermuda for 12 years, was first past the post but deemed an ineligible winner as a non-resident and therefore unable to claim any awards.

The men’s field also includes Sean Trott, runner-up for the past two years, as well as Chris Harris and Domico Watson, who finished among the top ten in last year’s race, starting from St George’s.

Gayle Lindsay hits the finish to clinch a maiden Bermuda Half Marathon Derby women’s title last year (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Also back to defend her title is women’s winner Gayle Lindsay, who captured her first triumph in the event last year.

“The Bermuda Day Half-Marathon is such a special event, so I’m excited to be able to take part again and I view it as such a privilege to be able to step on to the start line as defending champion,” she said.

“The race always attracts a strong field of runners, so I know there’s going to be a lot of competition for the podium. But, regardless of what happens, it’s a great feeling to know that I’ve etched my name in the race’s history books.

“I know there are mixed feelings about the alteration to the finish line but, at this point, I’m fairly indifferent.

“Like any change, I’m sure there will be pros and cons to the new finish, and I’ll maybe have a stronger opinion after I’ve run it.

“Overall, I’ve had a great season and am delighted to have set some new personal best times over various distances.

“I look forward to joining all other runners on the start line in Somerset.”

Lindsay will again have her work cut out competing against younger rivals Brianna Mendes and Christine Dailey, who finished second and third behind her last year.

This year’s 13.1-mile road race starts from the junction of Cambridge Road and Somerset Road and will end at the former finish line on Court Street in Hamilton for the first time since its early inception.

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Published May 23, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated May 24, 2024 at 9:58 am)

Race legend Kavin Smith set for surprise Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby return

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