by EDDIE THURSTON
4:30am, some days as early as 4am, his preparation for the morning run begins. Seven days a week. No days off! It feels like a hashtag should go before that, so please remain with me as I repeat: #nodaysoff
In 2014 Antoine Bosfield had, what some may call, an epiphany. He decided to change the direction his life was headed and he decided to do it by running.
“It felt as if I wasted half of my life drinking and partying. I wanted to give something else a shot and put my energy towards something different. I didn’t want to fall in the trap of what everyone else is doing. I wanted to be different. People laughed at me, but the laughing has stopped now because they saw I came third on Sunday.”
Sunday, January 15, 2017 at the Sunshine Insurance Marathon Bahamas race Antoine Bosfield, aka “Toonz”, finished 3rd overall in the full marathon. In a time of 3:04:52s. Toonz was the first Bahamian to cross the finish line that day. He was only surpassed by Leigh Schmit of Massachusetts and Amos Desjardins of Virginia.
With ten months of focused training, on November 6th, 2016 he entered and competed in his first marathon, the New York City Marathon. His results were 1450 overall, 1331 gender place, 301 age place, in a time of 3:08:13. Two months later Toonz knocked-off over three minutes of his time.
For those not impressed by Toonz marathon time, this article is more than merely his time. This is about determination. Dedication. Discipline. Faith. Purpose.
Toonz mentioned, “I use running as a pathway to communicate with God. I read devotions and pray daily but running has been a sure fire connection. I’m using running to show people that with God, all things are possible. That is why I am on this quest to reach the highest level.”
That level he speaks of is firstly to conquer the marathon National Record which stands as 2:34:00, set by Delroy Boothe in 1999. What’s next after that? The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Pretty lofty ambitions for a married 35-year-old man with a full time job. But, Toonz is all-in.
“I’m going as far as the good Lord will allow me to go. One day at a time, one mile at a time. You can’t rush this process. Distance running takes time to develop. Set incremental goals, achieve them, and then set the bar higher. Train more, race less. Racing is hard on the body. I’ve never failed to reach any of my goals.”
In December of 2013 Antoine found out that he was not healthy. Antoine weighed 200lbs and was placed on medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. He bought all the required medication but never took any. He started afresh in 2014. “It was time for a change. I gave up alcohol and have not touched it since. Not even communion in Church,” noted Antoine.
Additional amendments to his diet were made.
“I do not eat animal protein but sometimes I have egg whites. Nuts, veggies and a ton of fruit. Depending on what phase I am in my training I eat more carbohydrates or more healthy fats. No saturated fat. No cholesterol. No dairy. No refined carbohydrates. During the summer I intake more salt. All natural. I prefer to buy nuts from the side of the street. With this diet I have to supplement a lot, especially during periods when I’m hitting over 110 miles a week.”
Toonz runs a minimum of six miles a day. On his longer days, if you drove his route you would use a full tank of gas. His route: “From home (near Super Value in Winton), go to the coast, eastern road, Shirley Street, West Bay Street, all the way to Old Fort Bay, where I take a left at the round-a-bout to begin my return. I would turn on Blake Road to get back to the coast.”
He now completes a minimum of three long runs (25-30 miles) a week, which takes between three to four hours; training which forces him to replace running shoes monthly. His evening runs are designated to a treadmill. In 2016 Toonz completed over 4,000 miles and currently weighs in at 132lbs. His racing weight is 125lbs but he prefers to train between 130-135lbs.
Toonz is coached by an individual based out of Australia and all of their communication thus far were online. He met his coach through a friend he follows on a website for runners. Toonz receives strategies and various work-out plans from his on-line coach.
The journey thus far for Toonz is similar to his morning runs: lonely. It doesn’t faze him at all. “I have lost some friends along the way but it was for a worthy cause. They were probably not friends from the beginning. I don’t have a lot of support but I don’t care,” he states confidently. He is thankful for a few family and friends who have remained supportive, particularly his wife Margo Bosfield.
On one of his shorter morning runs, from the Winton Rugby field, then running east onto Prince Charles, connecting to the eastern road, turning around at the T-Junction near St. Annes School, I cycled along this dark, quiet course. Only sounds heard were his footsteps, cars whizzing pass sporadically, and a few barking dogs. Surprisingly the dogs only barked on the journey en route to St. Anne’s, not one bark was heard on the return. It’s as if they were only barking as a greeting to someone they were accustomed to seeing daily. Antoine mentioned that he doesn’t listen to music while he is running because he wants to hear his breathing and each of his steps along the journey. It may have been a quiet experience for me, but for Antoine he was running to his own “toonz.”