On her 49th birthday Charmaine Tucker started writing a bucket list.
Her friends were all for it until “run a 5K” appeared on the list.
They knew what was coming.
“Whatever she does, she likes to have company,” Angela Somner said.
Ms Tucker’s explanation is slightly different: “I thought it was important to get my friends involved because I thought this would change their lives,” she said, adding that most of them led sedentary lives.
The president and CEO of Lombard Odier had her colleague look into Beat the Couch, Catherine Burns’s ten-week fitness programme that trains people to run. “I was secretly hoping it was too late to join,” Adele White laughed.
The 46-year-old hadn’t run since high school, and was full of aches and pains. “I felt nauseous when the answer came back that we could join,” she said.
Ms Tucker managed to rally together a team of six for Season 12 of Beat the Couch which ran from October to December 2018. She dubbed her team “Bahamas Five-0”, because she is from those islands to our south.
The group started training with about 80 others at the top of Bull’s Head Car Park in Hamilton. Ms Tucker kept a tight watch, making sure they were there for training at 6am.
She was determined to win the BTC corporate team award at the end of the programme — they did. She’d decided to run a 5K after witnessing The Escalade, a race in Geneva, Switzerland. She loved how everyone came out to cheer the participants. In early December, she went back to Switzerland to finally take part and finished in 40 minutes.
“The course is hilly and you go around twice,” she said. “Everyone is shouting your name, which is on your bib. I knew that I could do it and finish it.”
On her return to Bermuda, she did the Jingle Bell 5K run/walk as part of Beat the Couch and coached her team through it. “I said, ‘Those people on the sidelines, they are watching; you’re running. This is something you are doing. Just do you’.”
She finished 122nd out of 124 walkers, and was proud of her achievement. At the end of Season 12, she started recruiting.
A second team of six signed up under the name Bahamas Five-0 for Season 13 of Beat the Couch, which ran from February 25 until May 9.
Carmen Adebiyi, 47 joined “out of sheer ignorance”.
“I swear I went in like a zombie,” she said. “I went through the motions. The first exercise we had to do was run for 60 seconds and walk for five minutes. I could barely do the first 60 seconds.”
The executive assistant at Estera slowly worked her way up to 90 seconds, then two minutes, then five. She said it was an emotional day when she realised she could run for 18 minutes.
The team signed up for Swan’s Sir Stanley Burgess 5K on May 9.
The race began in the Bermuda Football Association parking lot across from the National Stadium in Devonshire, led runners down Montpelier Road and Parsons Road and then eventually back up Frog Lane to finish in the same spot.
“Going up Frog Lane was a real struggle,” Ms Adebiyi said. “It was a constant incline.”
At one point she thought she was almost at the top, looked up and realised she wasn’t even halfway. Eventually she finished full of pride at 55:46.
“I had one of those faces that was a mix of crying and joy,” she said. “I have never completed anything from start to finish. But this was something I finished. It was amazing feeling.”
Now that it’s over Ms White is thrilled by all she accomplished.
“I dropped a couple of pounds and I feel great on the inside,” she said. “Over all it has been a big improvement in my lifestyle and health. I have always known if I put my mind to something I could do it.”
Added Ms Tucker: “Some are running seven days a week and some one day, so we are happy.
“We have started a movement, We want to have a 5-0 Team 3 for the next Beat the Couch in October.”
She’s also managed to have ticked off a few more things on her bucket list.
She put together a team of 25 for the Bermuda Cancer & Health Relay for Life event last month and another one for the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby.
She’s also planning a big party to celebrate her 50th on September 23. Next up on her bucket list: skydiving.