Burger King Grand Prix starts today in Mandeville
Raymond Graham, Sunday Gleaner Writer
THE country's leading middle- and long-distance runners along with high- school teams will be vying for lucrative cash prizes starting this Sunday, as the Burger King Grand Prix gets under way with the staging of the Burger King Mandeville 7K event at 3 p.m.
This will be the first of three events which will see the top individual male and female competitors at the end of the series walking away with $40,000 each with the top male and female school teams winning $60,000, respectively.
Today's individual male and female winners will both take home $15,000 for their efforts.
This year has also seen a change of the starting venue for the series which usually runs off in Montego Bay. However, with the large number of entrants from central Jamaica, Road Race Director Alfred 'Franno' Francis sees this as a timely move.
"Over the years, most of the participants have come from central Jamaica and with the event being staged in Mandeville nearer to these athletes, we expect a big turnout," said Francis.
starting with a bang
Today's event should start with a bang as top high-school teams including Edwin Allen, Holmwood Technical, Bellefield, St Jago, and Mavis Bank look set to fight to the finish for the top male and female teams in the series.
It should also be a close affair among the individual males and females. Following his surprise win at the Digicel Downtown Night 5K Road race, where he surprised Shawn Pitter, Mavis Bank's Garfield Gordon will be hoping for more success, but will have his hands full this time around, as Pitter, along with the likes of Damion Ben, Obrien Frith and Kirk Brown will make it much tougher.
With former Edwin Allen High student Marleena Eubanks, who dominated the female section, now overseas, it should be very close among the females. Eubank's former teammate, Asshani Robb along with Holmwood Technical's Lisa Buchanan, St Jago High's ChrisAnn Lewis, Hydel's Monifa Green, and Mavis Bank Track Club's Danielle James guarantee a close race.
The second event in the Grand Prix Series will be the Portmore 10K on Sunday, November 9, with the event culminating with the Reggae Marathon/Half Marathon and 10K in Negril on December 6.
The route for the Mandeville 10K event will see the athletes starting at Burger King on Caledonia Avenue, turn right on to Brumalia Avenue, left on to Ward Avenue, left on to Caledonia Avenue and finish again at Burger King, Caledonia Avenue.