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Arboretum cross-country falls victim to Covid

Youngsters compete in the 2019 National Cross Country Championships at the Botanical Gardens. The start of the 2021 cross-country series has been delayed because of restrictions brought on by the recent spike in Covid-19 cases (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The opening races in the cross-country series have been cancelled because of new restrictions imposed by the Government after a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

The series was due to start at the Arboretum on Saturday, with races to follow at Fort Scaur, Botanical Gardens and Astwood Park before finishing with the national championships on December 4.

Donna Raynor confirmed the cancellation of what would have been her final event as president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association before stepping down at the annual meeting next week.

“We cancelled it because of what was sent out to us by the Department of Youth and Sport and for safety,” she said, referring to restrictions that calls for gatherings of no more than 20.

“Even if we did it by age group and had 20 children, to me that’s too much,” she said. “The number of cases we have, there is no way I’m going to put anybody in that sort of situation.

“Same as we did last year, we’ll do it a race at a time, and then assess the situation and make a decision. What I sent out to the clubs is we’ll make a decision as each race comes, so I’m sure they’ll continue to do that,” the president said.

The incoming BNAA president will make the call on how the series progresses, with the second races scheduled for October 9 at Fort Scaur. Other dates in the series are October 23, November 6 and November 20.

“We did end up reducing it to a smaller number last year and we were able to have the championship,” Raynor added. “My hope is that we can get a couple of races in because cross-country is critical for our middle-distance and distance runners.

“Also, even trying to control it is difficult because if you have children you will have parents wanting to watch their children run.”

Last year’s series was also affected by the pandemic with the series reduced to four races, including the national championships, in which saw Dage Minors dethroned Sean Trott in the senior men’s race.

Two longtime participants of the cross-country races have passed since last year’s races, with the death of Mike Whalley in February and the passing this month of Midge Oliver. Both were originally from Scotland and made Bermuda their home for many years.

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Published September 22, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated September 22, 2021 at 7:56 am)

Arboretum cross-country falls victim to Covid

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