(A shot of the stunning Bermuda XC Challenge 5km course)
The MileSplit coverage team is set to take to the air for our travel down to the beautiful island of Bermuda where the inaugural Bermuda XC Challenge meet awaits. Race day is scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd in Devonshire.
In lead-up to the competition we connected with several Bermuda-based runners, who'll be participating in the day's various races, to gain insight on what the sport looks like locally and what their cross country experiences have been to this point in their careers.
Special thanks goes out to the athletes we've featured, who are noted below and their parents and guardians for helping to facilitate communication.
Grade / XC Team: Y10 / Bermuda Pacers Track Club
Goals for Bermuda XC Challenge: To continue my winning season with another 1st place finish
Long-term goals for the sport: Cross country is my favorite part of the season and I want to continue getting faster as I get older.
Achievements to this point: I have won the National Cross Country Championships in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Additional information: Despite the impact Covid had on the sporting community I was able to continue building on my athletic experience in 2021 and win the Mile Reloaded and the Labour Day 5k road race. 2022 has been a culmination of my hard work.
I traveled with the BNAA to Miramar, Florida where I competed and placed 1st in three events. I continued to show my capabilities by becoming the first athlete to qualify for the 2022 Carifta Games. I was one of the youngest to ever qualify by reaching the standard in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m.
I won the Junior Day Heritage marathon race on May 24th in Bermuda. I also trained with a Nike camp in July, which taught me a lot. Additionally, I attended the Russell E. Blunt track meet, where I placed first in all of my events.
I have a passion for running and my family and I'm thankful for my coaches, who continue to support my athletic journey.
Grade / XC Team: Year 11 Bermuda (Sophomore)
Goals for Bermuda XC Challenge: It is a challenging course with lots of hills and I know there will be some excellent runners taking part. This is a great opportunity for me to compare myself against some talented overseas athletes. I hope to put in a strong performance, run a good time and make the top three next weekend.
Long-term goals for the sport: This season I have been working with my coaches at Pacers to build on both my speed and my endurance. In the future, I would like to continue running cross country, as well as track, at university and internationally. I hope to attend more overseas races and challenge myself further.
Achievements to this point: Last year, I was National Cross Country Champion in the High School age group. After two years of not competing, it was really great to be able to race again.
Additional information: I am also a keen triathlete and Captain of the National Triathlon Team. Last month, I won two golds in the CARIFTA (Caribbean Regional) games in triathlon and aquathlon and a silver medal in the team relay.
I believe my experience and training in Cross Country massively helped me in my triathlon.
Grade / XC Team: Y12 / Bermuda Pacers Track Club
Goals for Bermuda XC Challenge: My goal is to perform to the best of my abilities while competing against athletes from overseas this shall allow me to be challenged and to also make new friends.
Long-term goals for the sport: To continue to hunt for faster times and a better fitness level.
Achievements to this point: I've competed in the AAU National Cross Country Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee and did my best while coming in 50th place overall and in 25th place for my age-group.
Additional information: I continue to rise to the occasion and encourage my teammates in all sports. Aside from cross country, I participate in many other sports.
Chavi Pacheco Hill
Grade / XC Team: Year 7 at Warwick Academy / Team: DNA (Developing National Athletes)
Goals for Bermuda XC Challenge: My goal for the Bermuda XC Challenge is to defend my title and win U12 National Champion.
Long-term goals for the sport: I would like to run cross country internationally and represent Bermuda one day.
Achievements to this point: 2021 - U12 National Cross Country Champion, 2020 - U10 National Cross Country Champion, 2019 - U10 National Cross Country Champion
Additional information: I am a footballer - my passion is football, but my speed and stamina from track and cross country help me to be better on the pitch.
Further information supplied by Chavi's mom (Amanda Pacheco): Chavi's first love in sports is football (soccer). His dream is to play professional football in the English Premier League. He currently plays football for Pembroke Hamilton Club's U11 Blacks team. He is also a member of LB Football Academy and part of his Warwick Academy school U13 football team.
Chavi's pace on the football pitch is one of his strengths, and he credits his cross country training for that. Spectators will often see Chavi running cross country in his knee-length football socks, and that's because we usually have to dash off to a football game immediately after running cross country.
His personal best mile time for cross country is 5:24:52 at Fort Scaur a few weeks ago.
Grade / XC Team: Grade 8 / Pacers Bermuda
Goals for Bermuda XC Challenge: I would like to win my age group and go sub 10 min in my 2 mile race.
Long-term goals for the sport: I would like to continue training and running in Bermuda and then eventually moving to the U.S. and attending boarding school to further my running career. After boarding school, I would like to run at a Division 1 university and win a NCAA XC title.
Achievements to this point: I have run 10:17 in the XC 2 mile and I am leading the Bermuda XC series so far this year.
Additional information: I run a 5 min mile and I have run a 10:17 two mile. I have a strong passion for running and I will never give that up.
Anthony Joseph (AJ) Harkness
Grade / XC Team: Grade 10 / Bermuda Pacers Track Club (Pacers)
Goals for Bermuda XC Challenge: Run 19 minutes over the 5km distance
Long-term goals for the sport: Win the 2022 XC season series for my age group
Achievements to this point: 2nd place in under 17 boys for two races and 1st place in under 17 boys for one race. Best time 19:22
Additional information (as told by AJ's parent Chris Harkness): AJ would like to run in longer distance races such as half marathons and marathons.
His best time for 10k was 46:26. Myself and AJ competed in the Bermuda Day Marathon (technically a half marathon) in the 2 person relay and placed 2nd.
AJ is also an assistant coach for our local junior triathlon club called TriHedz, where I am also a coach and this is where AJ first started out.