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Bay Street Mile set for next Saturday

Organizer of the Bay Street Mile, Frank’Pancho’Rahming, confirmed yesterday that preparations for the race is going according to plan. In the past years, the Bay Street Mile was one of the leading races in the country, and as a result it has been linked to other marquee events like the Walter Callender 10 kilometer(K) race and the Model Bakery 8.3 mile race.

A large crowd is expected to compete in the December 18 event. Whether it is for fun, as a tune-up or to maintain condition, Rahming is encouraging all persons to come out and take part. He said: ”The purpose for this race is to ensure that coaches have another opportunity to get their athletes in condition. This is the conditioning period of an athlete’s training, so we want to give them more opportunities, to ensure that they are fit. We are hoping that the clubs, schools and athletes will participate. This time of the year there should really be more cross country events which will assist with the athlete’s conditioning. Hopefully next year, we would try to meet with the GSSSA(Government Secondary Schools Sports Association), the Grand Bahama schools and the BAISS (Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools)to see if they can organize more cross country events; or a cross country event for their association.”

Seven divisions will be contested on that day, with the first gun sounding at 5:45 a.m. The race, which is being hosted by the Bahamas Track and Field Coaches Association(BTFCA), will start on the western end of Bay Street, passing the historic Straw Market site and ending at Malcolm Park on East Bay Street. Runners will compete in either the under-15 male and female divisions, the under-20 male and female divisions, the under-30 male and female divisions, the under-40 male and female divisions, and the 40-and-over and 50-and-over divisions. The entry deadline is December 11. Registration forms are available at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations(BAAA)office on Thompson Blvd. from any member of the BTFCA as well as the Sports Centre at Harbour Bay and the Mall at Marathon.

In an earlier interview, President for the BTFCA, Dianne Woodside said that she was pleased that the association was able to bring one of the most prestigious races back. She is hoping to host the event on an annual bases.

Woodside said:”We have garnered interest from a majority of the clubs. As far as corporate Bahamas is concerned, we would like more companies to come aboard. This is the second major project that the association is putting on and we know that it is going to be very successful.

“We want the race to be an annual thing. This is our way of promoting healthy living and keeping The Bahamas healthy. I think it will spark interest in cross country but not the entire season, since it is only one mile and cross country events are more than a mile. It is a fun race, it is only one mile and not the three or four miles that is usually associated with cross country or marathon running, so it is going to be short and exciting. Sprinters and long distance runners will be able to partake. The race is a cross section for all the athletes, anyone can run a mile.”

Woodside also revealed that there will be a 10-minute start in between each race. This, said Woodside, is to make it a little easier on the officials in terms of athletes in the various age divisions. The first race will see competitors in the under-15 and under-20 female division take to the street. About 10 minutes later the male runners in those two divisions will run. The under-30, under-40 and 40-and-over females are scheduled to leave at 6:05 a.m. The under-30 and under-40 males race will start at 6:15 a.m., and at 6:25 a.m., the 40-and-over and 50-and-over males will hit the street.

“We didn’t want everyone to be together, we wanted something quick but the different divisions separate,”explained Woodside.”We want to be organized and make sure that we have everyone in the right categories.”

Rahming, who serves as vice president of the association, said that more events are planned and will be put on next year. These events will be beneficial to both coaches and athletes.

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