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'MoBay City Run could be a catalyst for major sports tourism drive'

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 4:00 AMPaul Clarke
Dr Horace Chang speaking at yesterday’s press launch of the 2016 MoBay City Run.

Western Bureau:

In addition to being the tourist capital of Jamaica, Montego Bay, through its MoBay City Run, coupled with the plethora of some of the best golf courses in the Caribbean, could become a major pull for travellers seeking high-end sports and wellness activities.

The idea was pitched at yesterday's press briefing for the May 1 MoBay City Run by Dr Horace Chang, in whose North West St James constituency the event has been located since inception.

"The entire community has begun looking at the City Run as a calendar event for Montego Bay and I want to commend the organisers and those who originated the idea, as it brings out not only the support for higher education, but also brings the city together," said Chang.

"In addition to that, it could well become another event to attract a high volume of our visitors, as we are still the resort capital of Jamaica and indeed the Caribbean," he added.

UNIQUE POSITION

The run, he said, could easily become part of the international 10K/5K calendar and with the large number of golf courses and available tennis courts, Montego Bay is uniquely positioned to benefit from the lucrative sports tourism market.

He said the city has the required infrastructure to facilitate tourists in large numbers.

This year's event will also celebrate the establishing of Montego Bay's city status 35 years ago.

Montego Bay Mayor Glendon Harris told The Gleaner that the City Run will highlight the best of Montego Bay, acting as a unifying force in a city that struggles at times to maintain its good name.

Both Chang and Harris were participants in the inaugural staging of MoBay City Run in 2014 and have used their respective offices and status within the city to endorse the event, which pulled well in excess of 2,000 participants last year.

The event has raised more than $6.5 million in its two years, while supporting education with valuable scholarships to more than 200 students at the tertiary level so far, and organisers are hoping to double the recipients' pool this year.

Entry Fee: Groups - 20 or more - $1,500 per person; individuals - $2,000 (Early Bird Special), which ends on April 15.

After April 15, the registration cost will increase by $500 per category (group or individual).

Janet Silvera, chairman of the MoBay City Run Organising Committee, revealed that registration has been going well and that they have surpassed 1,500 registered participants at this early stage.