Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Melbourne scores with successful 5K

Published:Tuesday | March 6, 2018 | 12:10 AMMarc Stamp/Gleaner Writer

Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is looking to contribute $1 million each to the Special Olympics of Jamaica and the Sickle Cell Unit at the University Hospital of the West Indies from proceeds of the fourth staging of the Melbourne-Purewater 5K Run/Walk, which took place on the club's ground last Sunday.

President of MCC, Mark Neita, was also delighted with the turnout of participants and supporters.

"We would have made substantially more than we made last year. Melbourne will retain some of the funds, but a significant amount will go towards the charities," Neita told The Gleaner.

"We will try to give each charity $1 million, but if we can't, it could be close to that. We will make the announcement in a couple of days," added Neita, who was clearly left satisfied with the event's outcome.

"It was absolutely amazing. We got a tremendous turnout and tremendous support from sponsors. We had just below 1,500 people (participants) at the event. We had actually targeted 2,000, but that was a stretch target for us. Last year, it was just short of 800," he noted.

"The fact that we are supporting Special Olympics and Sickle Cell is significant because people understand that they are supporting a worthwhile cause. The second thing is that we made the effort to get the word out to make a significant marketing," Neita shared.

"This year, we got a lot of support from the corporate community, the running clubs, and the enthusiasm from right across the board was high. When a cricket club does something like that, it is significant," he further said.

"We also had the national rugby team doing a touch demonstration or display. We also had a stage show during the medal presentation ceremony and a kids village where the kids came and played. We presented a more wholesome day and people stayed late. We are very proud of that and the reviews we are getting are great," Neita noted.

Executive director of Special Olympics of Jamaica, Lorna Bell, is thankful for the support from MCC.

"I must thank the people for coming out. It was overwhelming ... . It is not easy to take care of people with special needs. All the support is welcomed," Bell said.

Henry Thomas was the winner in the male section, while Carlene Blagrove was the female champion.