WITH over a 25 per cent increase in the number of registrants for the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run in 2013, it was noticed that the largest increase was in the area of the Under-16 race category.
The organisers report that there was a 50 per cent increase in the Under-16 categories over 2012; with 2013 registering 314 males and 236 females compared to last year's 194 males and 115 females in the Under-16 open race category.
Ingrid Card, assistant vice-president of group marketing at Sagicor is happy that more young Jamaicans are taking a step toward philanthropy and healthy lifestyle habits.
"Many of our young runners have participated in previous years and I believe this shows that they are aware of the cause and are making an active move to assist charities while developing a healthy habit," said Card.
Of the 20,534 persons who registered to walk, run or wheelchair at the event, 550 of the 9,888 runners fell within the Under-16 male and female categories.
With an approximate ratio of 1:17 (U16: Adults), the young runners not only rivalled their adult competitors, but also ran significantly faster times than those recorded in 2012.
Wayne Lindo, 13 who was awarded third place in the U-16 male open run race, came 25th in the overall male category out of 4591 males. Garfield Gordon, 16, and Taehjmar Burke, 15, placed first and second respectively in the U-16 male group.
In the female U-16 open run event, Cheser Adams, 15; Latrice McGann, 14 and Shadae Harper, 14 placed first, second and third respectively.
Gordon, who came out in fifth place in the overall male category had a run time of 17:58 -- significantly faster than last year's winner Brandon Marsh, who clocked 24:03. Adams' time of 25:23 was also notably faster last year's front-runner Kedesha Cauldwell, who ran a time of 30:13 over the same distance.
Alfred 'Frano' Francis, race director also spoke to the increase in youth involvement. "This year we saw an increase in all categories. We are truly touched by the increase in youth participants, because this is a direct indication that our future leaders are learning the importance of supporting charities and living healthy lives," he said.
The Under-16 category is notably the youngest in the 5.5k road race.
The Sigma Corporate Run began in 1999 in downtown Kingston at Breezy Castle with a target of $500,000.00 for the Jamaica Foundation for Cardiac Disease. The theme was "Straight from the Heart" with 297 finishers. Since then, the run moved to Emancipation Park in New Kingston and has grown consistently. In 2012, its 14th year, over $33m was raised with over 16,000 registrants.