Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge cancelled
The Covid-19 pandemic has already impacted one of the biggest sporting events in 2021 with the announcement yesterday that The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge, scheduled for January, has been cancelled.
The race directors announced the decision this week after consultations with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, The Royal Gazette, which is the main event sponsor, Butterfield Bank, Bermuda Fire & Marine and PwC, stakeholders and the Department of National Security.
It was jointly decided by all parties to cancel the weekend of races as concerns for health and safety of the Bermuda community and all other parties involved is of paramount importance during the ongoing pandemic.
Like many 2020 and 2021 international running events, it is the first time the Bermuda Triangle Challenge has had to be cancelled.
The event attracts large numbers of overseas participants for the three-day running event which includes the Butterfield Front Street Mile, BF&M 10K Run and Walk and the PwC half and full marathon and has been one of the most popular events on the running calendar since its inception in 1975. It has hosted some of the world's top running talents, including Greta Waitz, Geoff Smith, Steve Cram, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Marcus O'Sullivan.
“A mass participation sporting event such as The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge, which attracts overseas race participants could potentially pose a health risk and race organisers did not want to jeopardise the health and safety of the local community or anyone involved with the event,” the race directors said in a statement yesterday.
Freddie Evans, chairman of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge expressed regret that the event had to be cancelled. “Since the spring, the BTC race committee has been working diligently to develop possible lower-risk race scenarios for the 2021 event but, in the end, we could not see a way forward to hold three major running races involving 1,500-plus participants and hundreds of volunteers and support staff which would not pose some sort of elevated risk,” Evans said.
“We hope all of our supporters and participants understand the difficult decision that we have made. We will now focus our attention on positioning the 2022 Bermuda Triangle Challenge to be the best event yet.”
Jonathan Howes, the chief executive of Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, the parent company of The Royal Gazette, said: “We are confident that the race directors have made the correct decision in this situation given the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We know it was a hard decision for them to cancel the race, but now we look forward to working with them, the BTA and the race sponsors, to make the 2022 Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge the premier running event on the race circuit in January, not only for local runners but also overseas runners as well.”
Hazel Clark, director of sports business development for the BTA, added: “It is challenging to have a mass sporting event anywhere in the world right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The BTA fully understands the challenges and obstacles associated with any event that promises to bring large numbers of visitors to our island, particularly those involving crowd scenarios where physical distancing and health protocols cannot be properly adhered to.
“We back the decision made by the Bermuda Triangle Challenge race committee 100 per cent because we agree the health and safety of our local community is of upmost importance.”
The race committee noted that any participants who had already signed up that there is an option to defer their entry to the 2022 Race Weekend or to claim a refund. Participants who have registered will receive an e-mail this month with details on how to defer or claim a refund.
The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge is an international three-day running event held every year in January, starting with the Butterfield Front Street Mile on the Friday evening, followed by the BF&M 10K Walk & Run on Saturday morning, and finishing on Sunday with the PwC half and full marathons.
Runners also have the option of running the Bermuda Half Triangle Challenge or the Bermuda Full Triangle Challenge, which involved competing in three events over the three days, the mile on Friday, the 10K on Saturday and either the half-marathon or full marathon on Sunday. The 2020 event marked its 45th anniversary.