Simons & Raynor Reflect On Skyport Magic Mile

February 27, 2023

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Cal Simons beams with pride when he reflects on the growth of the Skyport Magic Mile since the iconic junior race was launched in 1995 by the Bermuda Pacers Track Club.

“It rained like crazy the first year!” said Simons, the race director. “We had about 350 kids running. I didn’t foresee it going for this long!”

Cal Simons & Wayne Raynor Skyport Magic February 2023

Now in its 26th renewal, the event started as a senior race in Somerset, with juniors also competing, hosted by Swan’s Running Club. The following year, Judy Simons, then the Pacers president, contacted the original sponsor, Telford Electric, about holding a junior race similar to the Pro Shop Junior Road Race.

The rest, as they say, is history.

“We jumped on the Pro Shop’s coattails,” Simons admits. “They had their race one week, and we had ours the next. There weren’t too many races for kids back then.”

Bermuda Skyport came on board as the new lead sponsor of the Magic Mile in 2019, ensuring the preservation of the ever-popular event’s future.

“Skyport has a lot of new ideas,” Simons said. “It’s a family event, always has been, and it’s a positive event with a positive atmosphere. We pride ourselves on that. It’s also a well-organised event, which isn’t easy when you can have up to 1,000 kids running!”

Simons has become somewhat of a figurehead for Pacers, which formed in 1981, and said the Magic Mile has helped send thousands of youngsters to overseas competitions such as the annual Russell E Blunt East Coast Invitational Track Meet in Durham, North Carolina.

It has also afforded the Pacers coaches, and those from other local clubs, a chance to cast an eye over talented runners from 4 to 15 years old.

“The Magic Mile has been a major fundraiser for the club and very beneficial in taking athletes and coaches overseas to compete,” Simons added. “We’ve been able to offset some of the costs of travelling, not all of it.

“The race has served three purposes for the club. Firstly, it gets kids out there exercising. Secondly, it’s a major fundraiser for the club. And thirdly, it gives coaches at all of the local clubs an opportunity to scout athletes who may not normally be involved in track and field.”

He added: “We have to thank the parents. They’re the ones who register their kids, bring them to the race and support the club.”

Some of Bermuda’s most talented athletes, past and present, have experienced the thrill of the Magic Mile, most notably triathlete Flora Duffy, the Olympic champion, who still holds the girls’ 6 to 7 age group record.

Among the “Hall of Famers” from the athletics world are Dage Minors, Tre Houston, Juma Mouchette, Kyle Webb, Ryan Outerbridge, Allison Outerbridge, Alexis Bean, Kyrah Scraders and Trey Simons, to name but a few.

Wayne Raynor, the Pacers president, hopes for another bumper turnout this year, with the Pacers targeting the 1010 participants required to set a new entry record.

“A lot of hard work goes into organising the event, but we’re pleased with the support we get from the community,” Raynor said. “We’re proud of the impact this race has had over the years, and, hopefully, we get a record number of participants this year, and the community once again comes out and supports the race.”

Participants can be registered online for the race, held on March 4, at Entry forms are available at Sportseller in Washington Mall. The entry fee is $15 and must be paid by March 2 by 5 pm for paper entries and March 3 by 6 pm for online entries.

click here Bermuda generic Skyport Magic Mile

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