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Lack of funds could be the ‘death knell’

Lamont Marshall will skip Bermuda Marathon Weekend for the third successive year

Larry Marshall has expressed fears that Bermuda Marathon Weekend may not survive because of a lack of sponsorship.

The Royal Gazette reported last week that the lack of sponsorship is hindering the Bermuda National Athletics Association’s attempt to offer prize money for elite athletes, a dilemma Marshall suggests could be the “death knell” of the annual road-running spectacle.

“They have some serious money problems and I don’t know how they are going to get elite runners here if they are not offering prize money,” said Marshall, whose son, Lamont, finished runner-up in the Bermuda 10K in 2015 and 2016.

“It’s a terrible position to be in. I think the spectators this year are going to be very disappointed.

“This event might not survive and I’m not trying to be alarmist. When you can’t offer prize money and you’ve done so for many years, it’s a death knell. I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t last.”

Donna Raynor, the BNAA president, is hoping funding can be found to enable prize money to be offered to the top athletes.

“We’re still working on it; hopefully we will be able to come up with something,” she said. “There are some discussions out there so our hope is that something, even at the last minute, will come through.

“A lot depends on how many people enter. We may end up with extra funds because the entries are up.

Marshall believes that Bermuda Marathon Weekend has been in decline for years because of “bad administration”.

He said: “Going back, you’ve had bad administration for decades and now the chickens are come home to roost,” he said.

“That’s where we are at now and they can make all the excuses they want. For the spectators, this year will be a rude awakening because of the lack of quality and it’s sad for road running and Bermuda.

“This was a premier event and it has just declined in quality. Every year we’ve just watched it go down.”

Lamont Marshall, the reigning Bermuda Day Half-Marathon champion, has opted to skip the Bermuda Marathon Weekend for the third straight year.

Marshall will begin the new season instead competing in the 5,000 metres at Boston University’s John Terrier Classic. He ran the fastest time by a Bermudian over the distance at the same event last year.

The indoor meet will be held on January 25.