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Registration for Bermuda Day race put back a month

Lamont Marshall, the 2019 winner, is hoping to make a belated defence of his Bermuda Half Marathon Derby title this year (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Registration for the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby has been put back a month to May 1 to give organisers more time to assess the situation after a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

Gina Tucker, the president of the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby committee, revealed that online registration set for Thursday had been delayed. Because of previous restrictions the race, which attracted close to 1,000 participants in 2019, was already limited to 450 individual entries and 25 relay teams.

An increase in Covid cases over the past week has prompted the health department to issue new restrictions on crowd sizes. Last Thursday, Ernest Peets, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, announced that the Bermuda Day Parade, one of the features of the holiday whose highlight is the half-marathon, would be replaced by a Bermuda Day Show at the National Sports Centre, which will involve a reduced crowd and broadcast live.

Last year’s holiday festivities were cancelled because of the Covid pandemic, but Tucker is hopeful this year’s event will go ahead.

“We are waiting to hear back from the health department and, yes, we were planning to open registration on April 1, but now we will postpone that registration to May 1 and reassess the situation at that time,” Tucker said.

“Considering the race is nine weeks away, we do hope that things get better with respect to Covid and that the numbers improve. Should the Government say we need to cancel it, we will do as instructed, as we are guided by the health department.

“Things are changing every day, so six or eight weeks from now it could look very different. But we are ready, although of course we would not want to have an event that would cause concern for the health and safety of the community.”

The race is scheduled for May 28, from St George’s to Bernard Park.

Lamont Marshall and Rose-Anna Hoey are the men’s and women’s champions from the 2019 race, which also came out of St George’s, when Marshall claimed a third title and Hoey her second.

Runners are keen to compete again in the race, but there have been few opportunities to gain race fitness.

“We are almost being held at ransom by Covid,” Tucker said. “We thought it would be an easy move into May.

“Races are happening around the world these days as people get back into road races. We thought it would happen this year, people are excited and want to run this race.

“They are out there training, talking about it and gearing up for it.“

The Ray Swan 8K, which is the second of the four-race Legends Series that was cancelled last year, was supposed to take place yesterday but has become the latest sporting event to be scrapped.

The race was scheduled to start at West Pembroke School and finish at Shelly Bay Field, with runners starting in waves of three. However, Swan’s Running Club confirmed that exemption approval to stage the race had been withdrawn.

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Published March 29, 2021 at 8:35 am (Updated March 29, 2021 at 11:32 am)

Registration for Bermuda Day race put back a month

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