Jamaica News: Tourism Director, Donovan White, has lauded the organisers of the annual Kingston City Run for expanding the slate of activities for the seventh staging in 2019 to include a marathon, noting that this has the potential to attract visitors to the capital city.
The three-day run, organised by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s (JHTA) Kingston Chapter, is slated for March 15 to 17.
Speaking during the recent launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, Mr. White said Kingston is “well deserving” of becoming part of the global trend that sees people travelling to “experience what it’s like to run in a marathon”.
“I think that’s the experience that makes the transition of [the] Kingston City Run to [include a] marathon, a really bold move by the organisers,” he noted.
Mr. White described the event’s introduction as a “fantastic development” for the country and wider Caribbean, “because I believe Jamaica has a leadership role to play in the business of driving this region of the world forward”.
Hr argued that running continues to emerge as “a way of life for a lot of people in a lot of places… people [who] we would like to show [more of] Jamaica [to]”.
Noting the success of the annual Reggae Marathon in Negril, which, he said, has gained a “really good positon” globally over the years since its inception, Mr. White contended that Kingston is equally deserving of being a “part of the experience of, not just running, but meeting new people, making friends, and creating a lifetime of memories”.
He added that Jamaica, particularly the capital city, “needs to have something like this that becomes part of [the] flagship of our tourism product for the destination of Kingston”.
“What it means is that runners… from all over the world [will] get an opportunity to spend two or three days in Kingston and, maybe, get an opportunity to see that Kingston is just as beautiful… or even more beautiful than some other places [globally] that they have been to run,” he said.
The City Run/Marathon, staged since 2013, aims to raise funds to support projects for Kingston’s homeless, vulnerable youth through partner charity organisations, and heighten awareness of the capital city as a tourist destination.
Proceeds from the event will go towards the Open Arms Drop-In Centre; Marie Atkins Night Shelter; Food For the Poor; Alpha Institute (Alpha Boys’ Home); and Missionaries of the Poor.
In addition to the marathon, it includes a half marathon, 10k race, 5k run/walk, and a kids run, the latter of which will involve youngsters from inner-city communities as part of the organisers’ focus on inclusive participation.
The weekend of events also includes a welcome party for race participants and other stakeholders on Friday, March 15; a lifestyle and fitness expo on Saturday, March 16; with five and 10k races and marathons set for March 17. The activities will culminate with an awards ceremony and finish line reggae festival on March 17.
For her part, Kingston City Run founder and Organising Committee Co-Chair, Nicola Madden-Greig, noted that a number of great cities around the world host marathons, adding that “we think [Kingston is] a great city, and we should definitely have a great marathon”.
“We want to put Kingston on the map and really celebrate all that is wonderful about our capital city. Kingston is where it all happens. We are the heartbeat of Jamaica, and we definitely will be celebrating all of this, come March 2019… so we are very excited,” she said.
Mrs. Madden-Greig advised that all races will start and end at Emancipation Park in New Kingston.
Participants will traverse scenic routes that take them past notable and historic landmarks such as Devon House, King’s House, Bob Marley Museum, and Hope Gardens.
Mrs. Madden-Greig indicated that the courses were measured by the International Association of Athletics Federation/Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (IAAF/AIMS) International Measurement Administrator for the Americas and ‘A’ class measurer, Bernie Conway, and have been ratified in keeping with IAAF global standards.
The Co-Chair informed that the organising committee has forged a strategic partnership with Active.com, one of the largest race registration and marathon promoters globally, which will be responsible for all Kingston City Run/Kingston Marathon registrations and marketing.
“We will also be working with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and will be facilitating a series of launches through JTB’s partnership in various locations… including New York, Florida, Toronto, and London. We already participated in Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) in September and that was where we really pushed out to our international tour operators and travel agents,” she said.
Additionally, Mrs. Madden-Greig said the Committee has partnered with Dynamic Lifestyles Chief Executive Officer, avid road-race runner and wife of the Tourism Director, Patrice White, who will officially serve as the event’s Ambassador.
“Patrice is going to [in her role as] an international ambassador push the word out locally and internationally. We are very excited and pleased to have Patrice on board,” she said, while indicating that further details on the event will be announced in January 2019.
Mrs. Madden-Greig encouraged stakeholders to “work with us [as] this is long-term vision for our city.” She particularly urged them to support participants in the kiddies run.
“Last year, we were able to have just over 500 children on the road. These were sponsored kids’ teams. So you can sponsor a team of, like, 59 children and you can brand them… put them in nice little shirts. You fully sponsor their registration… we pick them up for you… [and] we feed them… give them a nice breakfast… [so] inner-city kids get to enjoy this event,” she said.
The Co-Chair indicated that “this is something that we are trying to inculcate, in terms of building a culture of running… [by] allowing them to enjoy an event, celebrating the city in which they live”.
“It is going to be a ramped up effort to really secure our place in the marathon space and in the space of distance running races worldwide. We really want you [our stakeholders, especially sponsors] to dig deep and invest in this. Don’t think of it as a sponsorship, but as an investment in your city and how we can really grow this,” Mrs. Madden-Greig added.
Main sponsors of the event, which had just under 5,000 participants last year, are the JHTA, JTB, Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), RJR/Gleaner Communications Group, and Marksman Limited.
Source: JIS News