‘Mile race will be strongest yet’
Freddie Evans, event chairman of the Butterfield Front Street Mile, believes the field this year will be the strongest ever, including former champions and multiple Olympians.
Evans is determined to kick off the Bermuda Marathon weekend with a “bang” and fully expects the star-studded elite line-up to do just that on Friday evening.
Among the confirmed entrants are Michael Rimmer, a three-times 800 metres Olympian for Great Britain in 2008, 2012 and 2016 and Eilish McColgan, the daughter of Olympic silver medal-winner Liz McColgan-Nuttall, and two-times middle-distance Olympian for GB, in 2012 and 2016, who hopes to compete at the Olympic in Tokyo this summer.
Other notable entrants include 800 specialist Charlene Lipsey, who was part of the United States 4x800 team which won gold at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, in 2017, as well as compatriot middle-distance runners Patrick Casey and Harun Abda.
Rolanda Bell, who has competed multiple times in the race will be a familiar sight for local spectators, while Dage Minors will be aiming to emulate an historic feat from 2017 when he became the first Bermudian to win the elite title.
“We have a great field confirmed for the race and it is going to be a really exciting evening,” said Evans, who is one of three new organisers of the marathon weekend.
“I'm in no doubt that it is our strongest field ever. Historically, Anthony Raynor has organised the entire weekend by himself and he's done an incredible job over the years.
“I am one of the three people to join the team and between us we decided that we wanted the Front Street Mile to be the flash point of the entire weekend.
“We wanted to grow the event and start the race weekend with a bang and with the line-up we have it looks like that is what we will get.
“In the women's race you have the likes of Charlene Lipsey and Eilish McColgan, while in the among the men's race I'd keep a close eye on Patrick Casey, Michael Rimmer and Harun Abda. Those guys can certainly go under four minutes.
“However, I guarantee Dage Minors is fitter and faster than ever before and he always seems to perform really well in the race.
“I know he's excited to test himself against the line-up and I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the podium.”
However, it not just the elite line-up that has got Evans excited, with the local age races set to promise a thrilling spectacle across the board.
“I'm also incredibly excited about the local field,” Evans added.
“The Men's Open is a wide-open field, a true toss-up and we will have to see who has the energy to persevere. Kwame Curling, Alex Pilgrim, Henry Stevens-Carty and Tom Mills could all find themselves challenging for the podium.
“The senior school men's podium may be dominated by Carifta Games qualifiers. Defending champion Khazi Sealey, Ryan Outerbridge, who was third last year and Tommy Marshall, who was fourth, all qualified for the Carifta Games in Bermuda in April in the first track meet of the season. Nicolas Pilgrim and Sancho Smith will also challenge for the podium.
“The middle school girls could be the race of the night. Ellise Dickinson and Legend Stevenson were second and third in last year's primary girls division, while we will have Jasmin Hasselkuss, who came second in last year's race behind defending champion Daria Desmond. Then there's Jada Grant, who came out of nowhere to qualify with the fastest time.
“The primary school boys' race will also be wide open with the likes of Cameron Adkins, Gianluca Bortoli, Chaz Edmead, Harris Fleming and Tobiah Goodchild among the ones to watch.
“The primary schools girls will also be exciting after all 20 competing qualified in less than seven minutes, including Antoinette Barry, Azari Jones-Dalton, Caitlyn Boyd and Lashee Jones. I'm just incredibly excited about the whole event.”