Guardsman Challenge at annual games to go international

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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Hosted by the Guardsman Group Foundation, the Guardsman Games is the biggest event on the venerable institution's calendar.

Broken into three segments, the ultimate goal of the games, which will be held tomorrow at Hope Zoo, is to raise much-needed funds to help the foundation's charities, which are focused on Jamaica's youth.

The games have taken on an international appeal, as arguably the most gruelling segment, the Guardsman Challenge — an individual 6K obstacle race with more than 20 obstacles — is a qualifying race for the Obstacle Course Race World Championships. Every individual who finishes the race gets a finisher medal and T-shirt, and persons who qualify will represent Jamaica in London, England, in October, and at the North American Championships in Vermont in the United States.

The exciting Power Games is the team event component and includes groups of four — two women and two men — competing against each other for first- second- and third-place prizes.

Not to be left out, children have an opportunity to play as well at the Guardsman Games in the Tuff Kids Race. The Tuff Kids Race is for school children between the ages of nine and 14, and the largest school team gets a cash prize for their school. There will also be first, second and third place prizes distributed to those who excel.

In only their second official year, there is tremendous potential for the Guardsman Games to become the ultimate event in Jamaica that brings family and friends together, promoting healthy lifestyles, camaraderie, team spirit, discipline, love and respect while lending a helping hand to Jamaica's less fortunate brothers and sisters.

The three charities that will benefit this year will be the Boys of Hope —troubled youths who have no official place in the criminal justice system; the Kind Hearts Basic School Initiative, which focuses on building schools in rural areas; and further work with the Bustamante Hospital for Children, which benefitted already from last year's games with the installation of solar panelling at the institution.

Executive chairman of the Guardsman Group, Kenny Benjamin noted that the event is of great importance to the Guardsman Foundation, as the proceeds will be benefiting some of the country's most vulnerable. “We believe that as a true Jamaican company we have a responsibility to invest in the lives of our youth to secure Jamaica's future.”

The Guardsman Games will be held earlier than usual this year at the same location at Hope Zoo in St Andrew. The reason for the change was to align with the running calendar, take advantage of the summer weather, and the fact that kids are off from school and parents are looking for fun family activities (hence the addition of the Tuff Kids Race).

The Guardsman Games is an event that is geared towards and caters to everyone — from babies to grandparents — whether participating directly, cheering their favourites, or just looking for a day of fun and entertainment. Food and drinks will be on sale, and this year's games will also feature a dog show, Kiddies' Village, petting zoo, other crowd engagement activities, and lots more.

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