Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Montego Bay cancer 5K goes virtual

Published:Monday | September 28, 2020 | 12:11 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer
Michelle Tulloch
Michelle Tulloch
Alan Beckford
Alan Beckford
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WESTERN BUREAU:

Despite being faced with the coronavirus pandemic, the 11th staging of the Kiwanis Club of Providence – Montego Bay 5K/10K Walk/Run/Bike for cancer support goes virtual with the inclusion of para-athletes and bikers. Registration opened last week and will close November 15.

The annual event raises funds to provide assistance to the Jamaica Cancer Society, cancer unit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital and cancer patients in western Jamaica. The all-female club is looking to raise over a million dollars although their target of 1,000 participants would see a 50 per cent decline from the usual figure over the past years.

WIDESPREAD INCLUSION

Speaking at the media launch at Deja Resort in Montego Bay, co-chair of the organising committee, Michelle Tulloch, said being forced to adapt to a virtual event opened doors for more widespread inclusion. For the first time in its 11-year history, the 5K/10K will field bike as well as para-athletes (physical disabilities such as amputation and special Olympians with intellectual disabilities).

“Being able to stage the event in the midst of this pandemic shows great courage as we look to overcome all odds. Our aim is to raise funds to help our cancer survivors who are fighters, and as such we are prepared to fight this pandemic to make this year possible,” said Tulloch.

“This year’s staging is somewhat unique as we have the inclusion of bike as well as para-athletes. It also creates an avenue for persons who usually would not make it from all across the country and the world through Kiwanis International. We are leaning on the diaspora because the good thing is that it can be done anywhere. We will also be having a virtual warm-up twice a week,” she added.

Race organiser Alan Beckford believes this year’s event allows a far reach, especially to other cancer societies and interested persons across the island and around the world.

“With the COVID-19 protocols prohibiting large gatherings, virtual races can be contested by participants anywhere and anytime. All they have to do is find an application on the Internet to measure their race and time, then upload it to the race result site where it will be recorded,” said Beckford, who noted that registered runners could pay and enter as many of the races they chose, and can also rerun the races to get better times.