WILLIAMSFIELD, Manchester — The Mandeville Regional Hospital is set to be the biggest winners of the 30th High Mountain Coffee Road Race, it was announced yesterday.
Proceeds from this year's meet, which is set for Sunday, January 27, will go towards purchasing "much-needed equipment and supplies" for the hospital's dialysis unit.
Chairman of the organising committee John Minott said they are hoping to raise some $1 million for the charity.
"We have been assessing the needs of the hospital and realise that the dialysis unit is in need of help, so we are hoping to raise $1 million or more," Minott told the gathering at the launch held in Jamaica Standard Products' factory yard in Williamsfield.
Meanwhile, long-time sponsors Lucozade Sports renewed their commitment to the meet to the tune of $1 million in cash and kind.
Other sponsors include Power Services Company Ltd, Jamaica Observer, CVM TV, Power 106 FM, Irie FM, Jamaica Drip Irrigation, Mitchell Elliot & Associates, KLAS Sports Radio, Fence Masters, Mandeville Hotel, Bullhead Mountain Spring Water, Sanco's Trucking, 20Twenty Events and Barita Investments.
"There is no word to adequately say how much we appreciate your support," said Annette Salmon, event co-ordinator from 20Twenty Strategies. "The meet has been going on for 30 years, but without your support it would not be standing today."
"I find it a little difficult to express the delight we share to be a part of the 30th staging of the High Mountain Road Race," replied Robeth Streete, Lucozade's marketing manager (Caribbean).
"There are a lot of road races around, but the High Mountain 10K is the pioneer and can now stake its claim as the longest running in Jamaica," she added. "Lucozade Sports values our longstanding partnership and looks forward to a wonderful future."
Meanwhile, Minott also announced that three overseas athletes, including former two-time winner Edmund Burke and two debutants, will provide competition for the local 10K runners, which should include defending champion Shawn Pitter of Swept Athletic Club.
The highly touted Andrew Brodeur and Jennifer Nelson of the United States-based Shore Athletic Club are the newcomers.
Burke, Minott said, will also partner with Lucozade to conduct clinics for young athletes at Bellefield and Manchester High schools.
"Edmund says he don't think he can win again, but will be coming out to do his best because this is the best road race he has ever competed in," added Minott.
The athletes, who will vie for over $500,000 in cash and prizes, were reminded by 10K meet director Maurice Westney to practise proper pre-race preparation.
"Medically, we are covered; no runner should have any difficulty at any given time. What we expect is a large turnout," Westney said.
"The race will include three water stops, so we're encouraging the athletes to use those water stops... to drink a lot of water because we don't want any of them to become dehydrated.
"We also know that sometimes because of the jitters they don't get enough sleep, so we're urging them to get enough rest."
The 10K race, which will begin and end at Williamsfield, is scheduled to begin at 3:30 pm, approximately an hour after the 5K race.
Entry fee for the 5K walk is $1000, while the 5K and 10K runs will attract a fee of $500 each. Children will run at no cost. Entry closes on Thursday, January, 24.