Delroy Boothe, near 50 in years on this earth, accomplished, this past Sunday, one of the most astounding performances in Bahamian sports history.
At 47, the veteran distance runner, who hails from Grand Bahama, bounced back to capture his second Sunshine Insurance Marathon Bahamas, in the sub-three hours’ time of 2:56:02, and, but for a mental error, could have gone on to achieve an even much more unbelievable feat. Still, he was able to achieve a remarkable feat. The stunning time was even faster than the 2:59:31 he did to win the event 10 years ago.
Boothe, in a post-event interview, as reported by Guardian Sports Reporter Simba French, acknowledged that, at a point in the race, he descended a bridge too quickly and ended up with a bothersome left calf. It is, therefore, conceivable that he would have seriously challenged the national marathon record of 2:29:26, held by O’Neil Williams.
The sparkling effort by Boothe gave him legendary status. Yes, he is a legend! He is deserving of a national honor.
I recall, vividly, the first marathon and the delight of members of the committee and Chairman Sir Franklyn Wilson. We had a local champion, a name synonymous with the classic event. Boothe, though, is an introvert at heart and never quite prospered in the role of being the first champion, from a marketing perspective.
He failed to finish Marathon Bahamas II and, although he competed regularly from that point onward, he never climbed to the top, that is, until Sunday past, as he demonstrated an incredible resilience for an athlete of his age. At the first 26.2-mile race in 2010, the competition was much less international.
This time around, the field included runners from 22 countries other than The Bahamas.
Boothe emerged as the best of the lot, an important factor in Grand Bahama’s revitalized sports program, which is being encouraged by the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), other entities of Corporate Grand Bahama, and dedicated sports leaders.
Sir Franklyn had high praise for Boothe and he spoke with emphasis, also about crafting a strong organizational base.
“Every year, this marathon shows how important it is to get everything right from the start. Once you build something right, success will be the result. From the start, we secured personnel who worked together with the one cause of getting this thing going, building a special event. What we have with the marathon now, is proof of proper planning and then building. I submit that this is the same mindset that should be employed in other aspects of life today in The Bahamas,” said Sir Franklyn.
He called Boothe one of the greatest inspirations ever.
“Look at it… Mr. Boothe comes back and wins the 11th event, after capturing the first. This means that he kept his body in shape. He’s one of the greatest inspirations. This is amazing, what he did. He should be emulated by all. He showed us what can be done if you live right. We talk about national honors. Well, I say that Boothe should be used to get the message out there, far and wide, throughout our country, as to how people should live and keep their bodies right. Just think of it. When he won the first time, the field was good, but not loaded with foreign competitors. This time, runners from 22 countries were entered. His performance was truly wonderful,” added the patriarch of this signature sports/social event.
Indeed, Boothe’s victory has catapulted him into the unique category of Bahamian athletes who excelled for decades.
It was 21 years ago, when he set the standard for Bahamian marathon runners, with the then-record of 2:34:47. He was 26. Now, ponder the reality, that, given his performance on Sunday, all these many years later, he seems capable of taking ownership of the national marathon record once again. That’s the fantastic way in which he has evolved over time.
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