Gayle Lindsay hopes to prove she belongs among the elite
Gayle Lindsay is determined to achieve a personal best despite having endured a difficult time preparing for the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby tomorrow.
“My training in the lead-up to this race has been a bit of a rollercoaster and my outlook on the race for me personally is quite different today to what it was if we had spoken this time last week,” she said.
“I took part in the Swan’s Virtual Legends Series races to get my legs back into racing mode and was particularly pleased with how the first of those races went.
“Training had been going well and I was feeling confident that I could beat my personal-best time of 1:34:38, which I ran in 2019.
“Unfortunately, the past eight days have been a bit of a struggle. Training has had to take a side step and I have had to adjust my expectations accordingly.”
Despite the challenges the 32-year-old has faced in the build-up to the 13.1-mile race, she remains committed to lowering her time and securing at least a top-five finish.
“I am hoping to be able to line up on the start line and go after that PB and prove that I deserve a place among the top five women,” she added. “But most of all, I am looking forward to the atmosphere on race day and to racing in an organised road race again.”
Lindsay is among those expected to be in contention for honours which also includes six-times winner Ashley Couper, who also holds both course records, Rose-Anna Hoey, the defending champion, and Martina Olcheski-Bell.
“It's a very strong field for both the men and women and is shaping up to be a really exciting race,” Lindsay said.
Couper is poised to make her first appearance in the race since her last triumph in 2016.
“I’m not expecting anything amazing,” she said. “But I’m happy to get out there and be able to compete among our best runners and people that are just happy to be out there competing.”
Hoey is bidding for a second straight title and third overall.
“Even though it’s a smaller field, it’s an incredibly strong women’s field taking part,” she said.
“You have to really put your best foot forward to make any kind of impact in this race.”
The iconic race will start from St George’s at 8.30am and finish at Bernard Park.
The women’s course record from St George’s stands at 1hr 22min 43sec, which Couper set in 2015.
The derby was cancelled last year for only the second time in its 112-year history because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The other time it was cancelled was in 1915 because of the First World War.
The race committee has since implemented a host of safety requirements in compliance with the Government’s large-group policy and Covid restrictions.
Only fully vaccinated runners and those who can provide a negative Covid-test within three days of the race will be eligible to compete.
Individual runners will start from St George’s in waves at regular intervals, are required to wear masks at the start line and as soon as they complete the race and are discouraged from congregating at the finish area at Bernard Park.
“I really commend the committee for making it happen this year and for working with the Government to find a way to safely host the event,” Lindsay added. “Good luck to everyone taking part.”