North Field to host Skyport Magic Mile
The National Sports Centre's North Field will be the venue for the Skyport Magic Mile, which is celebrating its 25th year.
The event, formerly the Telford Magic Mile before Skyport came on board as the title sponsor last year, was originally scheduled for this weekend but has been put back to March 21 and moved to the North Field because the completion date for the resurfacing work to the track at the main field has been delayed by the weather.
“We were told late last week that the National Sports Centre would not be ready for our rain date of March 7 and that now the scheduled opening of the stadium is March 17,” said Wayne Raynor, race director of the Skyport Magic Mile along with Cal Simons.
“Working with them we secured March 21 for the Skyport Magic Mile, which is still at the NSC but now at the north field. They are heavily dependent on good weather to complete the stadium.
“Because of the change in date, the registration paper entries will close on March 17 and online entries will close on March 17, with one flat registration fee of $10 until to the 17.”
Simons noted that the older athletes will again run over one mile that includes a course outside the NSC.
“We have talked about going out the main gate, past Devonshire Rec, to Roberts Avenue and then come in through the back gate, but we won't know that until we measure the distance,” Simons explained.
“We have no choice, with Carifta, the ITU and the Exhibition coming up in April, the opportunity for us to do it later was not even there.”
Last year there were 509 youngsters registered for the Skyport Magic Mile with 453 participating. The officials at Bermuda Pacers, who organise the event, are looking for similar numbers this year.
“Registration is going pretty good, we have approximately 300 registered up to today and looking to get another 300 or more,” Raynor said. “We're thankful to Devonshire Rec to allow parking and there will be other activities that we normally have.”
Workmen are on site at the main stand waiting for good weather to mark the lanes on the track, which now has three blue exchange zones for the relay events.
The next anticipated opening date of March 16 will come a day after the deadline for countries to submit their teams. Bermuda will be hosting the Carifta Games for a fifth time from April 10 to 13.
Craig Tyrrell, operations manager for the NSC, assured the track work will be completed well ahead of the Games, which will involve over 600 athletes from 27 Caribbean countries.
“The weather is definitely not co-operating but if we are completed prior to that date we'll open it up,” Tyrell said. “That's the date we set based on how things are going.”
Tyrrell said the second colour of the track should be an exciting new feature.
“We're really excited about that,” he added. “We would have had to re-line the track because the World Athletics has changed the relay exchange zone.
“Having the two-tone track actually helps with the optics, not just for the athletes but the officials as well. The actual zone is a different colour so you can visualise the handovers so much better.
“The track we have was put down in the early 2000s and had a warranty for ten years but has lasted for 20. Now, with the resurfaced track, we're looking for another ten to 20 years and even more records. Usain Bolt set a record in 2004 and I don't see why someone can't set a record this year.”
Two derelict buildings on the Parsons Road end of the National Stadium were recently demolished in preparation of the Carifta Games.