2014 High Mountain 10K Coffee Road Race targets $1m
Mandeville, Manchester — The annual High Mountain 10K Coffee Road Race set for Williamsfield on Sunday, January 26 will be targeting $1 million for the dialysis unit of the Mandeville Regional Hospital, organisers say.
"Last year we were able to hand over to the Mandeville Hospital a total of $500,000 and this year our aim is to double that," John O Minott, of Jamaica Standard Products and chairman of the road race committee, told a media briefing at his company's factory yard last week.
The Jackie Minott-led Jamaica Standard Products are the producers of High Mountain Coffee and creators of the road race festival in Williamsfield dating back
The highlight of the day will be the 10K (10-kilometre race) which has always been the signature event. It will start from the western end
of Williamsfield, through neighbouring communities including Kendal, before coming to an end at Williamsfield's north-eastern side.
According to John Minott, Andrew Brodeur of Shore Athletics Club, USA, will be back to defend his 2013
The female champion from last year, Kelsey Maher, will be absent. However, Danielle Tauro from Shore Athletics Club will try to repeat her win in 2011, Minott said.
The popular veteran, Edmund Burke, a two-time 10K winner, will also be participating and, as has become customary, will host clinics for aspiring distance runners at Manchester High and Bellefield Comprehensive.
Top local competitors for the 10K were identified as Rupert Green, Sean Pitter, Damion Bent, Aretha Martin and Nickesha Williams.
There will be $300,000 in cash prizes with $30,000 each to the male and female 10K winners.
In addition to the 10K there will be a 5K run and a 5K walk with wheelchair competitors included.
"We are not excluding anybody, we are including everybody, the health conscious, the wheelchair persons (and others with disabilities) to the 5K," said Meet Director Maurice Westney. He said that the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCo) will be playing an educational role at the festival as part of the drive to heighten awareness among young athletes about banned and prohibited substances.
As happens every year, organisers are expecting thousands of people, including vendors to descend on Williamsfield for the event, said to be the biggest of its kind in Manchester.
Alwyn Miller, CEO of the Mandeville Regional Hospital, thanked the road race organisers and their sponsors for supporting the hospital's renal unit, which he said was in dire need. He also urged a healthy lifestyle to help prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure which can lead to kidney failure.
"One of the challenges we face as a health service is that we are simply overwhelmed by the requests for dialysis,"
"Currently we dialyse approximately 42 patients on a monthly basis (at the Mandeville Regional Hospital)" but "we have approximately 120 patients waiting to get on the monthly dialysis system...," he said.
"Most times the only way somebody gets on the system is when somebody dies and that is one of the sad things that most persons do not recognise," Miller said.
Renowned track and field statistician and administrator Charlie Fuller, who died last year, will be specially remembered at what will be the 31st staging of the High Mountain Coffee Road Race Festival. A minute's silence recognised his passing at last week's media launch.
Led by 'Platinum' sponsor Lucozade which handed over a symbolic cheque for $600,000 to the organisers, some 20 companies, including the Jamaica Observer, were listed as providing support for the annual road race.
Timothy Scarlett, head of 'Diamond' sponsor Power Services Company Ltd, praised the Minotts for keeping the road festival going throughout the years. He also urged Manchester's business leaders to do more for schools in
their parish, particularly
Event coordinator Annette Salmon had special praise for Jackie Minott and Jamaica Standard Products for keeping the road race festival going at the height of the global economic crisis.