Sherlock and Swan turn back the clock
Ed Sherlock and Ray Swan are not only past winners of the Bermuda Day Half-Marathon Derby, they were also two of the oldest competitors in yesterday’s race.
Sherlock, 81 and a six-time winner in the 1950s and ‘60s and one of three runners to win five consecutive titles, finished the race in 2:40.59 while two-time winner Swan (75) came in 1:55.12, achieving his goal of breaking the two-hour mark.
“I’m a little tired but that’s natural,” said Sherlock, a popular former winner who was determined to complete the course. “I wanted to get in under two hours but my legs wouldn’t carry me the way I wanted. I sat back because I wanted to finish the race, that was my desire.”
Sherlock gave special thanks to the crowd along the route as a group of other runners from Southampton Rangers, including his grandson Quinton Jr, wore vests “Honouring Ed Sherlock”, one of the parish’s most celebrated former athletes .
“The crowd gave me the inspiration to pick it up a bit,” said Sherlock. “Sometimes I was feeling a little tired but my spirit came back. I wanted to come in strong. About three of us (from Rangers) came in together, but the other guys I told them ‘don’t hold back for me, I’ve been there and done that’. I’m not as fast as I used to be, but I feel all right and I’m very grateful to the Lord for giving me the strength to finish the race.”
Cal Steede, a veteran of road running himself, praised Sherlock for finishing the race under tough race. Steede completed the race in 1:46.06 and then went back out and accompanied Sherlock to the finish line.
“I went down by Victoria Steede because I heard he was coming along,” said Steede who completed his 22nd Half-Marathon Derby. “Today, with the way the weather was, and at his age I think it was a marvellous achievement.
“And to finish it in good health is something because some people pass out on the course. May 24th is not an easy race.”
Steede has plans to continue running the race into his senior years. “If the good Lord spares my life, yes,” he said.
Another former veteran of the May 24th Derby, Ray Ming, also completed the race and was there to greet Sherlock at the finish line. Along the course he soaked up the atmosphere that has made the race a very special event over the years.
“It’s our day, no day like it and this is, I think, my 35th race,” said Ming, a top six finisher for several years.
“My wife Sandra encouraged me to get back out there and gave me strict instructions not to go out and hurt myself but to enjoy the day. To share a day like this with our legend, Ed Sherlock, who I used to follow on my pedal bike, it’s a plus.
“I can only use the word legend, to know that this young man at 81 years old is still competing. I’m just thrilled to be a part of this day and I give a lot of credit to the sponsors and the people who organised it because I think they did a fabulous job.”
Despite the changes over the years, Ming still insists the race is something very special, which brings the whole community together. “I'm more encouraged to see the young people and a lot more ladies in the race because they are the future, not us,” said the veteran who recalls about sixth fourth place finishes and 14 top six placings.
‘But I’m not the best one in my family, my brother Ted finished second several times and Gladstone, my oldest brother, made a couple of fourths. My father, Wesley Ming, was a runner also for many years.
‘When I first started running there was no such a thing as water stops, we had cycles beside us, fumes, and I was one of the unfortunate runners who got hit and had my leg broken in the race. I think it was my second race way back in the 60s. The race has gone from strength to strength. We’ve got to keep the tradition alive.”