MANDEVILLE, Manchester — To many, six years might just be a stroll in the park, but to the organisers of the Central Hurdles and Relays track and field meet, it's a significant milestone.
All going well, Saturday will be a mini-celebration for the organisers as they stage the 2013 edition at GC Foster College in St Catherine.
Jerry Holness, chairman of the organising committee, said it has been a wonderful journey, but not without hiccups.
"Looking back six years ago, it looked like a difficult task when we decided to start this meet, but we have been able to cross many hurdles and it would not have been possible without the hard work," said Holness at Wednesday's launch at Tropics View Hotel in Manchester.
"It has been hard to secure sponsorship, but we're committed and will continue to do what we have to. The meet has grown over the years," he added, "and as a result we have seen increased numbers of schools and athletes taking part.
"The product that is offered at Central Hurdles and Relays is excitement and when you think of a day full of relays and hurdles there's not much more that you can ask for."
Holness, a former Manchester High coach who now plies his trade in the United Arab Emirates, said the meet has not deviated from its original plan, which is to help athletes fine-tune their hurdling and relaying techniques ahead of the Boys' and Girls' Champs and Pen Relays.
"When we looked around, there were only a few meets that would give the athletes a chance to practice, so we wanted to develop hurdles, not only in the region, but also across in Jamaica," noted Holness.
"The fact that Champs will be held much earlier this year coaches will be able to get the qualifiers out of the way from early. This is also a World Championship and World Youth Championship year, so I know a lot of youngsters will be targeting the national team," he added.
Holness also announced that GC Foster will be this year's honouree. "As much as we are here for track and field, we have to recognise the work they have done in sports, overall."
In reply, GC Foster principal Edward Shakes said: "We really feel honoured that you have chosen us as this year's honourees. We are especially humbled because it is coming from people within track and field."
The triple jump for girls will be the only new event this year.
The meet is scheduled to get underway at 8:30 am with the Long Jump and 4x800M Open (male and female), which will run concurrently.