Pacers hoping to reach landmark mile number
The Bermuda Pacers Track Club will be hoping to hit the magic 1,000-entry mark for next weekend's 21st Telford Electric Magic Mile at the National Sports Centre.
The Pacers, who celebrate 35 years in existence this year, are anticipating another big entry for one of the most popular junior races, featuring youngsters aged from 4 to 15, running over quarter, half and mile distances.
Deadline for entries close on Saturday, with completed forms returned to either Telford Depot in Somerset or the Sportseller in the Washington Mall by 4.45pm along with the $10 entry fee.
“We're still looking to attract 1,000 athletes which we've done twice before,” said Cal Simons, who will be race director along with Wayne Raynor. “The regular deadline is Saturday and then there will be late entries next Monday and Tuesday.”
Again the organisers will be giving $200 awards to the preschool, primary, middle and senior schools that have the highest number of athletes that complete the races and they have to have a minimum of 20 athletes registered to be eligible.
“I would describe it as one of the top junior races on the island, with the Dash in the Dark very similar,” said Simons. “Telford will again be giving out T-shirts to athletes who complete the races in all age groups.”
There will be a slight change in one age group, moving from 10 to 12 to 10 to 11, with the 12-year-olds now competing with the 12-to 15-year-olds.
The event serves as one of the biggest fundraisers for the club which uses the funds to send athletes to competition overseas. Last year the club took youngsters to Canada, Florida, Philadelphia and to North Carolina for the Russell E Blunt East Coast Invitational which they have been attending for 34 years.
“This [Telford Mile] is a significant event for us, one of our major fundraisers. This year we are having three or four major fundraisers,” said Simons, who added that the club are seeking a major sponsor for one of their other big events, the Relay Classic.
“We are extremely grateful to the Telford family for being there for us. We're working with them to maintain the Telford Mile because it is a great event for the junior athletes and a great spectator event for the parents.
“Because of the size of the event we do not do registration on the day. We pride ourselves in running a very organised event and so far we have 40 four-year-old boys already signed up. The numbers look very promising, the highest we've ever had is 1,037 in 2007 or 2008.”
The Bermuda Pacers was formed in 1981 by the likes of Simons's mother, Joan Simons, Clarence Smith, Sandra Whitter, and Winfield Todd. Fast forward three decades and now youngsters are members of the Pacers like their parents before them.
“From a club point of view we are really proud of the fact that 500 to 600 athletes have come through the Pacers programme; some of them have gone on to get full university scholarships, people like Brian Wellman, Jay Donawa, Jarita Dill, De-Von Bean, Ranika Bean, and Terrance Armstrong,” Simons said.
“This year, one of the things we are planning to do is have a banquet at the end of the year and we're looking at doing a Bermuda Pacers Hall of Fame.”
Some of the up-and-coming athletes expected to compete this year in the older age groups include Jade Johnston, Selah Tuzo, Ryan Outerbridge and Tommy Marshall.
The four-and five-year-olds will run one lap around the track, the six-and seven-year-olds two laps. All other age groups will begin on the track and run over a clearly marked course in the Arboretum before returning to the finish line inside the stadium.