Massive turnout for Mo Bay City Run

Thursday, May 09, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The city of Montego Bay was a sight to behold on Sunday when thousands flocked the streets to participate in the increasingly popular Mo Bay City Run.

From as early as 5:00am, there was every indication that the day would indeed be something special as “runners and walkers” gathered on the lawns of what became an increasingly crowded Old Hospital Park on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard, in anticipation of the 6:00am start of the 10K/5K “run for charity” event.

And before the starter could say “go” it was total pandemonium as thousands, certainly the biggest crowd in the event's six-year history, were in line for what one participant aptly described as “the cavalry of all cavalry charges.”

From the Old Hospital Park towards the scenic Howard Cooke Boulevard, participants began “sorting themselves out,” in an atmosphere of both joviality and “seriousness,” especially from those who were intent on winning some of the very attractive prizes.

When the dust was finally settled, Oshane Archibald finished strong to win the 10k for men, holding off the gallant pair of Henry Thomas and Kemar Leslie, who both closed well to finish second and third respectively.

A spectacular run by Shanise Gordon in the female section, saw her out-finishing a battling Arieta Martin, who in turn held on for second, over Alison Sutherland.

In other results, Kelly Ann Beckford won the 5K run for female over Tia Anderson and Kishawna Robinson; Garfield Gordon took the male equivalent over Tyrese Reid and Royale Gordon, while Patricia Young won the 5K walk for female and Duwell Allen the male equivalent.

“It was something to behold……one has to be here to fully appreciate the buzz and the excitement,” explained a jovial Adam Stewart, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sandals International.

Stewart, who participated along with his children, said the organisers must be commended for putting on “a masterpiece” of an event, adding that “Montegonians all over must be proud of our city and what was on display today.”

Stewart's comments were echoed by Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) president Omar Robinson, who noted that “this has to be the biggest of its kind in the region and certainly one of the biggest in the country.”

“As I have stated publicly before, the Mo Bay City Run has not only evolved beyond everyone's wildest expectation, it is now the kind of marquee event that almost everyone wants to be a part of,” he expressed.

“Today's turnout has left little doubt that this is now an institution…one of our landmark events and something that will continue to attract tourists to the island.”

Robinson added that the fact that the event was “a run for education” makes it even the more important that “this is something we continue to cherish and support.”

For her part, teacher and sports enthusiast Carmen Francis said she has been “at every Mo Bay City Run” and cannot wait “until next year again.” “Super…super…event,” she stressed. “Well organised and definitely grown in stature.”

The RIU hotel chain was again well-represented, registering close to 900 participants, while the Sandals chain, as well as other corporate entities, including title sponsor Courts Jamaica Limited were also out in their numbers.

The MoBay City Run is a charity road race in which the funds raised is channelled towards providing scholarships for tertiary-level students in St James, who are having difficulty financing their education.

It is the brainchild of Montego Bay-based journalist Janet Silvera, who recognised several years ago, that approximately one-quarter of these students are unable to cover their fees in any given semester.

Following last year's staging of the event, organisers awarded scholarships valued at $4.5 million to students of some secondary and tertiary institutions in Montego Bay, bringing its total education assistance from the event to $19.5 million over the five years of its existence.

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