By Brian Bonitto Associate editor — Auto and Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org
A RECORD number of 20,501 participants are expected to don their sneakers for charity at this year's staging of the annual Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run on Sunday.
The 5.5-kilometre (3.4 miles) walk/run/lyme is scheduled for a 6:30 am start.
Now in its 16th year, the event is expected to raise over $16 million for three charities -- Bustamante Hospital for Children, Jamaica National Children's Home and the Best Care Lodge children's home.
Donovan Perkins, president and chief executive officer of Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited, is pleased with the growth of the event.
"Registration is up 25 per cent over 2012," Perkins told Auto. He said his company had projected the event's growth with the move in 2004 from downtown to New Kingston.
"Emancipation Park has helped to grow the number of participants, because it is a very friendly location with adequate parking surrounding the main staging area. I think the child-related causes we have supported create a strong emotional appeal for the event. Our Jamaican people truly care and want to help -- and this is a great way to help our kids. Corporate Jamaica sees this also as an excellent way to build team spirit and to encourage their teams to take care of their health and get some exercise."
The CEO said this year's patrons are Lady Allen and Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Perkins lauded his team members who organise and execute the event.
"I must also mention Alfred 'Frano' Francis and Gina Harris. These two persons are among the most important motivating factors that contribute to the success of the run," he said.
"We are particularly proud of the fact that our Sigma Run has become a template for corporate fund-raising -- through the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, while assisting our communities and having gun. It is a trifecta of good!"
Last year, Horace Burey took top honours from a field of 16,000 participants. He won the event in 18 minutes and eight seconds. Andrew Gutzmore and Kenroy Benjamin rounded out the podium finishes.
This year, the race will begin at the Sagicor Bank Building on Knutsford Boulevard, in the heart of New Kingston's financial district and then move left onto Trafalgar Road and Waterloo Road. Participants will then turn left onto West King's House Road, left to Constant Spring Road, then left again on Suthermere Road. The run continues right onto Parish Place, left onto Hope Road, right onto Winchester Road, right onto Ruthven Road and left onto Half-Way-Tree Road, with the race ending on Oxford Road.
As a result, several roads along the routes will be closed to vehicular traffic between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Sunday. These include:
n the western section of Trafalgar Road between Knutsford Boulevard and Hope Road;
n the lower section of West King's House Road between Waterloo and Constant Spring roads;
n Waterloo Road between King's House and Hope roads, and
n Derrymore Road at the Eastwood Park Road junction.
Only Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses will be allowed access along Derrymore Road en route to the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre.
Traffic travelling from Half-Way- Tree square towards Papine will be detoured to Half-Way-Tree Road then to Oxford Road, onto Old Hope Road, then to Lady Musgrave Road, and back to Hope Road.