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Weather warning won’t stop End-to-End

Choppy waters: End-to-End swimmers might have to wait a week as severe weather threatens

The End-to-End, back tomorrow for its 29th edition, will not be daunted by a potentially stormy day.

“It’s a rain or shine event,” vowed Anne Mello, the chairwoman of the End-to-End charitable trust.

No roads will be closed but hundreds of marshals will be out, she said. “We’re making sure participants are safe and well cared for along the way.”

In a break from the springtime perfection of recent years, a frontal system has brought thunder and high winds into the early weekend.

Although organisers hope for rain and strong to storm-force gusts to abate early, Ms Mello said no chances would be taken, with participants this year able to join the course “whenever and from wherever they can”.

Weather depending, the swim may still go ahead at 5.30pm today from the Hamilton Princess, which will coincide with the resumption of the hotel’s Marina Nights Happy Hour from 5pm to 9pm.

But it is likely it could be postponed until the same time a week from today.

Stormy conditions have also brought the venomous Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish into local waters.

Warnings have been posted at Horseshoe Bay but swimmers in general should be vigilant, particularly on the South Shore.

Ms Mello said a decision about the swimming would be made “probably around noon” today, with updates posted on www.bermudaendtoend.bm.

“The feeling of accomplishment is so great when the weather isn’t good,” she added. “People finish as if they have climbed a mountain, with a great sense of pride.”

All participants can travel free on the ferry to Hamilton by showing their event number.

A warning to those headed west: America’s Cup construction in Dockyard means parking will be limited.

For East End participants, the Corporation of St George’s will be offering a free ferry ride from Dockyard to St George’s. The ferry will leave Dockyard at 2.45pm.

Turnout for the End-to-End is always high, and the event’s 3,000 goody bags are going fast — but 17 water stop teams are dotted along the route to keep spirits high, and participants topped up. Cyclists have been reminded that they must obey the rules of the road and wear a helmet.

Thanks to title sponsor XL Catlin and Platinum sponsors, The Royal Gazette and Cell-One, all of the entry fees and participant fundraising efforts will be going to the charities selected this year — Family Centre, Pals, the Coalition for the Protection of Children, Pride and Open Airways.

More than $5 million has been distributed in 181 charity grants over the 29 years of the event, and organisers are aiming to distribute more than $250,000 extra this year.

Something to consider as you set off tomorrow: it can take 51,110 steps to walk the End-to-End and 29,568 for the Middle-to-End, as octogenarian Joan Dismont knows well — she is the only person to have walked every year.