NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Bahamas Roadmasters Running Club (BRRC) has 30 of its members registered for the 125th Boston Marathon, and are in high training mode as they get ready to chase “the unicorn” (official symbol of the Boston Marathon).
BRRC President Marcel Major explained: “Our members and a few other Bahamian avid runners will be ready for the challenge and will ‘kick up the asphalt’ on race day. When Boston decided to add a virtual component, it just made sense to do it. This is historic and we are excited to be a part of it; the next 18 weeks will be epic.”
With all relevant approvals in hand, local runners will begin at 2 a.m. on October 9, 2021. The Boston Marathon has always been for “qualifying athletes”, meaning that participants had to submit their running times (usually under five hours) to the organization and then wait to be approved for admittance to the marathon race.
Like many other road races held around the world since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, all registrants last year were forced to complete their 26.2-mile run virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year however, on its 125th anniversary, organizers have opened the race to both in-person and virtual runners. In this format, timed qualifiers can compete in the in-person race in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, while other runners who are willing to train for the 26.2 miles challenge can participate in the 2021 Virtual Boston Marathon.
Virtual participants can run wherever they are on the globe within the prescribed time frame, running a 26.2 course of their own choosing. They must record their activity using a GPS (Global Positioning System) device such as a sports watch or any suitable running app on their mobile phone. They would then upload their stats to race officials through the Boston Marathon website.
Under the guidance of BRRC member and marathon expert Shavaughn Blades, the club commenced training on May 31. Blades has 44 marathons and numerous half-marathons under her belt. She has created a schedule that will propel all runners to improve on their PRs (personal records). According to Blades, the training regimen is a combination of running, strength and weight training for 18 weeks. “It includes a blend of hill running, sprints, tempo and long runs,” she said. The group also studies nutrition plans and has engaged a sports therapist for on-going physical maintenance to minimize the risk of injuries.
Vice President of the BRRC Michael Cunningham said he is excited about the Boston race.
“Every year, the club chooses a full marathon to run internationally. In 2020, all in-person races were either cancelled or limited. In November, 17 runners of our club ran the New York Virtual Marathon, in the midst of lockdowns and curfews, and everyone performed remarkably.”
The group is comprised of veteran runners and a good number with no full marathon runs. Emotions are high, from nervousness to exhilaration. Sue Simmons said: “I plan to give it my best attempt. Right now, I’m following the plan and enjoying the fun and camaraderie. I particularly enjoy the reward after every long run, a swim in our beautiful sea water. We call it ‘salt therapy’!” Simmons is a proud two-time marathon finisher.
The Bahamas Roadmasters Running Club was formed in 1990 to advance the sport of distance running in The Bahamas. In addition to its two annual signature events, the Bahamas Half Marathon Run Series in November and the Midnight Madness 10K (10-kilometer) Fun Run/Walk in June, the club supports all major local road races throughout the year. The BRRC can be reached at the website www.bahamasroadmasters.com or on the Bahamas Roadmasters page on Facebook.