Mavis Bank's Gordon, Brown rule Digicel 5K
Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
Mavis Bank High School athletes, Garfield Gordon and Crystal Brown, took top honours at the third staging of the Digicel Downtown 5K Run/Walk on Saturday night.
Gordon, a medallist for his school at the ISSA Boys and Girls' Championships in March in the boys' Open 5,000 metres, created a major upset, turning back the challenge of pre-race favourite, Shawn Pitter, who was hoping to go one place better following his second place finish last year.
Pitter took control of the event in the early stages, but Gordon, who was in a good position throughout, overtook Pitter at the 3K mark and from there he pulled away from the field to win in 15 minutes, 28 seconds.
Pitter, who suffered a foot injury in the event and finished second in 15:50, had to be given medical treatment after crossing the finish line. Third went to André Walker in 16:17.
The 17-year-old Gordon was very pleased with his win.
"I am extremely happy for the win because this is my third time trying to win the event and also it was my first win over Pitter and this makes me even more happy," he said.
Among the females, there was a similar pattern as it related to the winner, as for the third straight year there was a different champion.
Fourteen-year-old Brown, who clocked 19 minutes, 11 seconds, was a cut above the field.
Second went to Juliet Dinnall (20:09) and Karlene Blagrove (20:43) ended third.
'Brown stated that following the directions of her coach was key to her win.
"I followed the instructions of my coach and this helped me to win the event and also I have been training hard all season," said Brown, who was winning her first road race.
The event, which was held to raise funds to support special needs projects, including a grant of $29 million to the STEP Centre and a grant of $31 million to the NAZ Children's Centre in Montego Bay.
Judine Hunter, special needs programme manager, Digicel Foundation, was pleased with this year's staging of the event.
"We had such an amazing event and I am grateful that so many participants turned out and brought such energy," said Hunter.
"I am especially pleased to have seen so many members of the special needs community as they mingled, enjoyed themselves, and had a good race. We thank everyone who came out, your contribution will change the life of someone with special needs."