MoBay City Run eyed as major sports tourism event
Still in its infancy with only two stagings, the MoBay City Run 5K and 10K walk/run is being viewed as a major sports tourism calendar event in the resort city of Montego Bay.
With its growing popularity, the event has been attracting good corporate support and an increasing number of participants.
MoBay City Run Three - which is set for May 1, on the 36th anniversary of Montego Bay being declared a city - was launched at the Holiday Inn Resort on March 8 with an impressive line-up of sponsors.
Courts and two of its subsidiaries have committed $1 million in support, while Solo Jamaica has pledged $500,000 and the Montego Bay Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association gave its endorsement with a donation of $50,000. Also giving strong support to the event are Sandals, ATL, Holiday Inn and Jet Blue, among other sponsors.
The Courts million-dollar sponsorship will include gifts of TV sets, exercise equipment and a Sony music system. And with some 3,000 participants expected for the MoBay City Run, JetBlue will be giving four airline tickets to the first male and female winners for both the 10k and 5K runs.
Additionally, MoBay City Run will give $10,000 each to the male and female winners of the 10K race, while the respective winners of the 5K run will each collect $7,000 cash.
The event targets corporate involvement and there is a trophy for the largest corporate team, plus prizes of JetBlue airline tickets, appliances, vacation at participating hotels and others.
Delivering opening remarks at the launch, logistics coordinator, Nicole Allen, said: "The synergy that MoBay City Run engenders must continue the process of integrating all social classes in this powerful and strong growth corridor."
She described the two-year-old event as not just good and necessary because the proceeds assist hundreds of tertiary students with their education, "but it unifies us as Montegonians, breaking down the barriers of social class, station or political affiliation".
Noting that Montego Bay has been rated as the ninth most popular destination for American tourists over the last three years, Allen added: "MoBay City Run has become the calendar sporting event in the tourist landscape."
The 2015 staging saw the participation of many overseas runners, which is being encouraged with backing from the Jamaica Tourist Board.
Allen said by 2020, the MoBay City Run aims to include on its calendar of events, a half marathon on par with Jamaica's Reggae Marathon and those of Miami, Chicago or New York.
"It is for that reason that MoBay City Run saw it fit and necessary to engage the professionalism of Mr Alfred 'Frano' Francis of Running Events Jamaica Ltd to help us achieve our mission," she disclosed.