Shailer Reflects On A Decade Of End-To-End

May 1, 2023

Mandy Shailer Convex End To End May 6, 2023_2[Written by Stephen Wright]

Mandy Shailer will once again be helping ensure the ever-popular Convex End-to-End runs as smoothly and safely as possible on Saturday [May 6].

Ms Shailer, the Bermuda End-to-End deputy chair and safety officer, has spent the past decade organising the road marshal volunteers for the annual charity event, which involves thousands of people heading west, whether walking, cycling or running.

She will step down from her position this year and said she is proud to have served such an efficient, flexible and well-run organisation for so long.

“Being part of this group, which is so well organised, has been a pleasure,” Ms Shailer told Bernews. “Everyone knows their role and gets it done.

“I’m specifically focused on the road marshal volunteers. I identify locations along the route that are potentially dangerous or where participants will need directional assistance. I get volunteers positioned there to ensure participants reach their destination safely.”

Ms Shailer was approached to join the End-to-End board by her predecessor, Bob Flath, whom she has known since she was a child, and said she found the opportunity to “give back to the community” too good to turn down.

“I always joke he caught me at a weak moment and convinced me [to take on the role],” said Ms Shailer, who will be succeeded as safety officer by Nathan Frick. “I was looking to give back to the community; this was perfect.”

Moving thousands of people across the island in one direction “can be tricky”, admits Ms Shailer; however, with several experienced volunteers returning every year and newcomers always eager to lend a helping hand, she said most of the hurdles she faces occur in the build-up to the event.

“The volunteers are amazing,” she said. “We have regulars who have done it for many years and will fight for their spots! We tend to split them into two or three-hour shifts. You don’t want someone standing in the same spot all day.

“Each year, the charities we support reach out and ask if we need assistance filling any gaps, so we have a range of regulars and newbies.”

She added: “It’s stressful leading up to the day. You’re always thinking, ‘Have I forgotten something; will someone not be able to show up to a key spot; will there be road works of which we were unaware?

“Once the day starts, a strange calmness comes over me. It feels like, ‘What’s going to happen, will happen’. Plus, we have safety support from Red Cross, Open Airways, and St John Ambulance – they’re all out there.

“I’m checking up with all the road marshals, driving along the route, making sure there are no traffic issues that we might need police involvement with.

“When I get to Dockyard, I know the end of the day is approaching. The vibe up there is fantastic. It’s a party when you get to the West End.”

Mandy Shailer Convex End To End May 6, 2023_1

Over the years, the island’s top charity event has evolved, grown, and overcome significant challenges, such as coping with two years of Covid-19 restrictions.

Normal service resumed last year, with the End-to-End returning to full strength with a new title sponsor after the international insurance and reinsurance firm Convex Group Limited stepped in to support the event.

“We made it through Covid and had to pivot, shifting dates because there was a spike [in cases] around May in 2020 and 2021,” Ms Shailer remembers.

“We didn’t have to cancel, though, which was great, even if the event was more of a virtual one. It was a testament to how flexible and skilled the team is.

“We also had to co-habitat with the America’s Cup up in Dockyard [in 2017], where a lot of activity was happening.

“We’ve been through some difficult times in recent years. Anne Mello [the End-to-End board chairwoman] deserves so much credit for how the event has evolved since being at the helm.

“It’s a major part of the Bermuda community calendar. Hopefully, it will continue for another 36 years!”

Having only participated in the event once before joining the board, Ms Shailer said she looks forward to embracing the unique atmosphere as a participant in future years.

“I joke that joining the board gave me an excellent reason not to do it again!” she added. “It’s a long walk and a physical challenge. There’s nothing like reaching the finish line with everyone there to greet you.

“It’s a kick-off to the summer; everyone has shaken off those winter doldrums, and it’s getting warmer.

“I definitely intend to get a team together and compete for those top fundraising spots. You’ll see me out there in future years!”

The Full End-to-End starts at 7 am in St George’s. The 14-mile Middle-to-End starts at 10.30 am at Point Pleasant Park in Hamilton, next to the Point House building.

Meanwhile, the Fun Walk and Cycle, sponsored by Athene, takes place at 2 pm, starting at Beacon Hill in Somerset.

Proceeds will go towards the Bermuda Zoological Society, Gina Spence Productions, The Eliza DoLittle Society, the Skills Development Programme, and Vision Bermuda.

Anyone interested in signing up or finding out more information, click here.


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