Jordan Chipangama, who was set to be one of the star attractions of this year’s Bermuda Marathon Weekend, has been forced to withdraw from the road running spectacle for the second time in four years.
The Zambian long-distance runner, who has won the BMW 10K twice and Half Marathon three times and holds the race record in the marathon, pulled out at the eleventh hour after suffering a hamstring injury while training.
“I got an e-mail that he [Chipangama] injured his hamstring,” Anthony Raynor, the BMW chairman and race director for the 10K, half-marathon and marathon, confirmed.
“He was out training and hurt his hamstring and he is extremely disappointed of course because he’s been planning for a few months to come over here.”
Chipangama also pulled out of the event in 2015 because of an illness which dashed his hopes of a third successive half marathon crown.
Raynor ruled out bringing in a late replacement for Chipangama, who won a third marathon and second 10K during his previous appearance here in 2016. He set the race record in the half marathon of 1h 4min 21sec in 2014.
“We have six [elite runners] still here so we are, at this point, going with the six,” Raynor said. “It would be a little unfair at this point to bring in someone because the plans have been made for some of these guys for a couple of months.”
Local fans have been treated to some exciting competition over the past several decades and Raynor said this year will be no exception as some of the world’s elite, both present and past, showcase their extraordinary talents.
“Over the years we have had the top athletes here and this year again we have Geoff Smith who won the Boston Marathon twice,” Raynor said. “We also have Steve Jones who was a world record-holder in the marathon so how much better can we get?
“This event is good for tourism which is good for our economy and that is a motivator. And to combine sharing Bermuda with a passion of running with visitors to the island what else would I want to do? It’s like a dream.”
Bermuda Marathon Weekend commences tonight, with the ever-popular KPMG Front Street Mile races.
“The KPMG Front Street Mile has always been the highlight of the race weekend simply because it brings the whole community together,” Mike Charles, the KPMG Front Street Mile race director, said.
“The elite event is going to be a good one and I’m hoping that our own home grown Dage Minors will come out on top.”
Tonight marks the thirteenth and final year of KPMG sponsoring the Front Street Mile.
“Unfortunately, this is their last year as our sponsors but we have been grateful to KPMG for assisting and supporting this event over the last several years,” Donna Raynor, the Bermuda National Athletics Association president, said.
BMW chairman Anthony Raynor added: “Thirteen years ago they came and supported the event when it really needed support and from my perspective they have fuelled the event with their support.
“They have decided that they would like to go and support something else and so I can’t be happier with the time that we have been together.”