Skyport Magic Mile surpasses expectations
One of the largest fields in recent memory showcased their budding talents during the Skyport Magic Mile at the Flora Duffy National Stadium on Saturday.
A total of 804 preschool, primary, middle and senior school athletes entertained the large crowd on hand that witnessed some exciting racing as the popular event marked its 25th anniversary in style.
“It was definitely a success and actually surpassed our expectations,” Cal Simons, the event co-race director, told The Royal Gazette. “We really didn’t expect 804 entries due to the fact we had a short time to make it happen.
“With the support of our sponsors, Skyport, it was a beautiful event and a beautiful day. It was an excellent day and I think everybody had a good time.”
It was the largest turnout of athletes since 2015.
“The highest we ever had was over a thousand one time,” Simons added. “But this year is a lot higher than what we had prior to the pandemic.
“From 2016 to 2019 we were getting about 500 athletes. So we are extremely pleased to get over 800 this time and I want to thank the public.”
Unlike in previous events, this year saw the older age group runners compete inside the stadium rather than going out to the Arboretum and back.
The four and five-year-old races consisted of one lap around the 400 metre track and the six and seven-year-olds two laps.
The remaining age groups ‒ from ages 8 to 15 ‒ were the only runners competing over the mile distance, which was four laps.
“Our officials were top notch and we just tried to roll it out as fast as we could,” Simons added. “We didn’t have any accidents on the track so on behalf of the club we are extremely pleased with how everything went.
“The children had a good time and I hope that the parents had a good time. I’m sure they did so hopefully they will come back next year.”
Mikaela Pearman, the Skyport marketing and communications officer, was equally thrilled by the large turnout for the event.
“We are excited that so many athletes and their parents turned out,” she said. “I think that everyone has been a little cooped up over the past two years, so it was great to have an event where the whole family can come out and something fun for the children to do.
“As the sponsor of the event, we were very happy with the registrants, the turnout and the day. It was just fantastic.”
She added: “The children loved the running. I think the older the children get they realise they’re running four laps and then they get a little tired. But the younger ones seem to be so into it like my son, Xavi, who had his best time ever and is already talking about next year. It seems like the children just love it.
“I think everybody has just been waiting for something to do for two years now. So having this event was amazing.”
The event was run by the Bermuda Pacers who also added a new incentive for the schools in celebration of its 25th year.
“We made a decision in celebration of 25 years the schools, whether preschool, primary, middle or high school, that has the most number of athletes will receive a 250 gift from the club to go towards their athletic programme,” Simons said. “But the primary, middle and high schools had to have at least 20 athletes and the preschool at least 15 athletes complete the race.
“We will be putting something together and then hopefully announce the winning schools.”
The event made a spectacular return this year having been cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.