|Articles & Tips > Race Stories: Bermuda
International Race Weekend
intimate racing experience
Coastal locations are about as perfect a spot for a road race as there
is. And when you're at a location that's surrounded on all sides by
water, that makes for even more possibilities for scenic views and
breathtaking stretches of terrain along the way.
When I ran the marathon at the Bermuda International Race Weekend
several years ago, that's exactly what I found. If you've never
traveled to the island, which is actually a windswept chain of islands
that cover a nearly 28-square-mile area in the Atlantic Ocean about 560
miles off the coast of North Carolina, it's truly an enchanting place.
Everything you've probably heard over the years is true. The island's
resort areas really do feature sparking, pink-colored sand beaches, and
the water along the shoreline was as blue and clear as any I had ever
seen, letting me see clearly through to catch glimpses of the
yellow-tipped blue tang fish swimming in the water crashing along the
beach. The weather was also spectacular, and while because the race was
in January it was on the cool side, the island is famous for its
year-round "70-degree guarantee." While it came close, the temperature
really didn't stray much from what was promised.
The day of
On the day of the race, myself and the team I had traveled with to
Bermuda for the race were dressed out in t-shirts, shorts and our team
jerseys, to give you an idea of what the weather was like even before
our 8:00 a.m. start time. Compared to many marathons in the United
States, this race was a cozy one, with a field of only about 700
runners, which gave you plenty of breathing room to pick up or slow
down your pace without losing sight of your friends along the course.
Within miles three and four after the start we met our first big hill,
McGall's Hill, which began at about the three-quarter-point of the
third mile and continued steeply upward for the last quarter mile to
the mile four marker. Maybe the steepest continuous incline I've ever
encountered in a race before or since, McGall's was followed
(thankfully!) by a long, slow downhill through the fourth and fifth
miles to the smaller Devil's Hole Hill along Harrington Sound and North
Shore Roads. Though we came across several small hills and downhills
after that, nothing came close to McGall's.
The course next took us through an area of the island called Flatts
Village, where many local people were waiting outside on the porches of
their homes to cheer us on. Needless to say, I was shocked beyond
belief when one of the local Bermudians called out my name as I rounded
the corner beside his house; I found out later that the local Bermuda
Sun newspaper had printed all our names and bib numbers in that day's
paper, which residents were reading as we came through their streets.
Very clever way to welcome us all there, I thought.
The sun was out throughout virtually the entire race, though that
didn't mean we didn't feel the occasional rain shower here and there.
While the race took us around the back side of the island away from the
Front Street start/finish line, rain fell in fits and starts, though
really nothing more than a hard drizzle. Though of course it could have
been the fatigue getting to us by this point, my friends and I all saw
rainbows here and there.
By the time I finally made it across the finish line (more than four
and a half hours later), I felt like I'd really seen so much of what
the island and resort area have to offer. We got a feel for the
touristy Hamilton downtown, the neighborhoods that ring the city's
central business district, the beaches, and everything in between.
Though I don't see myself running the full marathon there again
– those hills are a killer when you have to run them twice!
– I hope to definitely make it back for the half someday.
Ever participated in the half or full marathon at the Bermuda
International Race Weekend? Share your story of your experience.