When I told my friend that I was doing the Bermuda End to End, he asked: “End to Who?”. I found that was funny, but at the same time I thought: “why is he questioning my noble intention, when, in the country in Africa from where he originated, the average person perhaps walks the intended distance on a daily basis?”
The Bermuda End To End (E2E) sponsored by AXA XL, is an annual charitable event which sees walkers, runners and cyclists make their way from one end of the island to the other end – a 24 mile distance.
This labour of love for a good cause, starts from King’s Square, in St. George’s and ends at the Clocktower, in Dockyard. Participants also have the option to do Middle to End.
This year marks the 34th edition of the event.
I did the E2E a few times previously, when I was younger and fitter, so I decided I would make 2021 my E2E Swan Song.
Having made up mind, I conscripted one of my BFFs, Tracy Marshall, to undertake this dueling adventure with me, even though the longest distance we would have walked, a few weeks before, was eight miles.
So on October 23, at the blush of dawn, during an intense downpour accompanied by high winds, we began our journey.
It started off with approximately 50 brave souls, which is much scaled down from previous years. The smaller numbers were on account of the pandemic (even though it was a “safe key” event) also because of the less than ideal weather conditions. The night before we were visited upon by heavy thunder and lightning. You would think it would be wise to abandon the mission.
Along the route, my medium sized umbrella did not withstand the winds; it served no useful purpose, so I disposed of it in short order, but kept the yellow rain poncho so as not to have my clothes totally soaked. We kept our fingers crossed that we would not have to be crossing the Causeway during wind and rain.
After about an hour, the rain did let up a bit, even though there were intermittent light showers until the 8 mile mark.
As we were trudging along by Swizzle Inn, some very fit looking males overtook us (the males outnumbered the females this year). This did not deter or demotivate us. At times wondered if we would be the last to arrive at the Finish Line in Dockyard. However, along certain points we realized that we would not get the prize for placing last; there were others behind.
When we reached the St. George’s | Hamilton border , we gave ourselves a pat on the back because we had left one parish and were entering another. The journey was just beginning.
We kept a steady pace along the South Shore, whilst being kept apprised of the weather conditions via WhatsApp voice notes, from “meteorologist”, Shannon. His early prognoses were not very encouraging but we soldiered on.
At John’s Smith Bay, we noted that the seas were very rough. It seemed that there was a winter storm of which we were not advised.
Leaving Smith’s parish and entering Devonshire, the weather began to improve so instead of being wet from the rain we began being wet from sweat. Thankfully the humidity level was low. The cyclists including the young one joined us.
We thought we would have met some of the Middle to Enders when we entered the Railway Trail from Paget but it seemed that they were off to a flying start way ahead of us.
As usual the volunteers were out in their numbers and there were no shortages of refilling/water stations with adequate snacks.
The toughest part of the terrain, would be between Warwick and Southampton where there are rises and descents; tough on legs which would have already walked 16 miles. The vistas however eased the pain.
Once we left Southampton, the Trail was very flat. We began to flag and there were lots of “WTH!”moments. However, since we made it that far, there was no turning back.
At this point, of the few spectators there were, some were telling us, “seven more miles to go”, others “three”and some even “one more mile”. I depended on my RunKeeper and MapMyRun Apps. They were both very reliable. Nonetheless, we were urged on with with usual Bermudaful greeting “looking good, looking good” by all and sundry.
After 8:45 hours we crossed the finish line without the usual fanfare associated with End to End. No medal ceremonies, muted applause, no massages, no foot rubs etc.
We reached Dockyard in time to catch the ferry to Hamilton. We limped off the ferry. I had one hour to spare for a pre-arranged pedicure appointment.
It’s a wrap for E2E 2021. Congratulations to all who participated. Perhaps next year I’d be amongst the cyclists.