Mile got the better of me - I won’t forget it

  • Pushing the pace: Adrian Robson, wearing number 4793 competing in the Bermuda Marathon Weekend in 1985. He also tackled the Front Street Mile in the 1980s, as a competitor in the celebritiesí race

In the 1980s, at least a year before the elite mile race was introduced to the Bermuda Marathon Weekend schedule, a celebrity race was held along Front Street. Adrian Robson, one of the islandís well-known journalists and a competitive road runner, was among the entrants. He describes the experience.

The lungs were bursting, the knees buckling and the head swimming. And there was still 300 yards to go!

Even for a finely-tuned road runner this was a completely different experience.

Yet it had to be done to properly complete the road race resume ó a one mile dash has to be on any self-respecting road runnerís itinerary.

It was the early 1980s. Road running was booming and any challenge presented was there to be conquered.

With a rigorous training regime coupled with a temporary alcohol abstention, we could all dip beneath 40 minutes in the 10K and smash the three-hour marathon barrier and hardly break sweat (couldnít we?)

The mile seemed a piece of cake. However, this addition to an already packed road running schedule was to prove a little more arduous than previous endeavours.

As the gun sounded, we jockeyed for position ó the same bunch who congregated almost every Tuesday at the Botanical Gardens for a two-mile run, which served as a useful tool for increasing fitness and promoting some friendly rivalry.

Now, before the thousands of spectators who had gathered on Front Street, this was a chance to show what we were made of.

A gallop towards the Birdcage didnít seem too worrisome, not when compared to the exhausting climb towards the finish of the Princess to Princess road race two weeks earlier.

But as the race continued along the length of Front Street the pace was unrelenting.

Middle-of-the-packers like myself could occasionally cope with six-minute per mile pace over five miles. But now the legs were being asked to sprint into unknown territory. And they didnít like it.

How could such a short race inflict so much pain? Surely I canít be the only one suffering. But suffering I was, horribly.

The heart was willing, but the body was rapidly wilting. The sight of the finishing clock in the distance didnít bring any relief. The legs were already shot.

Wobbling across the finish line, I dropped to the pavement in humiliating exhaustion.

Front Street had got the better of me, and I wonít forget it.