BNAA Pay Tribute To Michael Whalley

February 10, 2021

The Bermuda National Athletics Association expressed their condolences to the family of the late Michael Whalley.

The BNAA said, “On behalf of the Bermuda National Athletics Association we would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends and our athletic family for the loss of Mr. Michael Whalley.

“Mike has been a regular competitor for all BNAA/BTFA events specifically road running and cross country for decades. There are some road runners who do not enjoy the challenge of cross country, however Mike was not one of them, he loved cross country and he rarely missed a race.

“Mike was always very polite to the officials and after every race came to us and thanked us for hosting a great event. Mike always made sure that we did not forget to add in the Masters, Snr Masters categories for our awards as he moved through each age group.

“Even in the Front Street Mile he made sure we recognized our Snr Masters and did not put them in the same category as the other runners. When we gave out the awards which Mike always received one of the top spots he would say ‘Thank you for remembering us’ even though it was mainly because of him that we made sure we had those awards.

“We will truly miss Mike at our cross country events as he came up with a smile always to collect his numbers. We didn’t see him at our last series of events but I would always ask if anyone knew how Mike was doing.

“Mike touched so many people in our sport as was seen in the press this week, and we asked a few others to say a few words about their memories of him.”

BNAA President Donna Raynor said, “Mike was around when I was competing in the BTFA Cross Country events. Mike would always encourage me as I struggled over those hills on the sand dunes. He made you feel like you should never want to give up. Mike and I always had conversations throughout the years regarding the sport.

“I will never forget the last conversation that I had with Mike at his last cross country event at Fort Scaur. At the end of the race as I headed to my car Mike was sitting off on the grass. I stopped by to make sure he was alright and we had an in depth conversation. He advised me of his illness which totally shocked me but we chatted for a long while. I thanked him for always supporting the BNAA/BTFA and he thanked us for continually hosting the cross country events that he enjoyed and looked forward to.

“Mike was a trooper and had a positive outlook that all would work out fine for him. He did tell me that he will continue competing and running as long as he could. I did leave that conversation a bit sad. I was even more saddened when I saw that he had passed and that last conversation with him will stay with me. I will miss watching Mike compete in Cross Country and Road Races. He was a tough competitor. Condolences to his family and the running fraternity.”

Michael Watson said, “Mike Whalley was the Bermuda Scotsman that adopted the island as his home during the 1960s and 70s era of May 24th professional running. He was a part of the competition during the Calvin Hansey, Cal Bean and Virgil dominance of May 24th right up to present day.

“He can be credited for being the most non political, anti racist, supporter of local athletics who attended almost every BNAA, Swans, MAAC and any other organized running events. During all these years of running spanning over 50 years very seldom was he not in the top ten of his age group. We must acknowledge and send condolences to his family and running families for the accomplishment of our great flying Scotsman.”

Wayne Raynor said, “On behalf of the Bermuda Pacers Track Club we wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Mike Whalley. You could always depend on Mike to come out and support the cross country and road running events hosted by BNAA and its affiliates as he was ever present.

“He would often express his appreciation to us by saying ‘Thanks to the volunteers for coming out and making the event happen’ and noting he enjoyed the experience. We were saddened when he told us of his illness and he would not be running any more due to his illness. May God be with his family during this time.”

Raymond Swan said, “Mike was a great friend. He was a kind person and he and I got along so well from the start. We were tight. I train every Saturday on the beach at Horseshoe Bay and back of Warwick Camp, and Mike and I ran many Saturdays together. He was a good runner and we supported each other I can’t believe he has passed. I am shocked. I send my sincere condolences to his family. I have lost a great friend.”

Chris Jones [MAAC] said, “I first met Mike out on the Cross country course about 10 years ago. He was a regular at every race and was always ready to run, rain or shine. His cheery attitude and gentle Scottish accent were always such a pleasure to experience.

“Mike was a regular character in the running community and will be sorely missed, his regular appearance at the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby was indeed another testament to his commitment and love of running, at an age when many have resigned themselves to spectating. Mike was still carrying the torch for the Master and Senior Master category, and showing us that if you have the will, there is always a way.

“Mike was a true gentleman and sportsman and was always appreciative of everyone who participated or gave their time to organise events for runners.

“He will be sorely missed and we offer our sincerest condolences to all his family and friends in Bermuda and back home in Scotland. He always remained a true Scot, wearing his tartan colours somewhere on his running kit so what better way to close than to quote the words of Robert Burns: if there’s another world, he lives in bliss; If there is none, he made the best of this.”

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