As Kingstonians and other sporting enthusiasts count down to the October 20 Digicel Foundation 5K Night Run/Walk, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has joined public- and private-sector organisations in supporting the groundbreaking event.
In addition, both Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill and his state minister, Damion Crawford, will take part in the race. The run/walk in downtown Kingston will benefit eight special-needs schools and organisations across Jamaica and will be the first such sporting event held in the country.
The JTB welcomed a list of public- and private-sector leaders, who are fielding teams in the 5K, during a signing ceremony yesterday at the JTB corporate office in New Kingston.
Heading the list of those taking part were McNeill, Crawford and Digicel Jamaica CEO Andy Thorburn.
While participation in the inaugural Digicel Foundation 5K Night Run/Walk is fully local, the involvement of the JTB this year could undoubtedly provide strong support for making the event an international one, with significant potential as a sports tourism activity.
John Lynch, director of tourism, said he was happy to support the project, noting: "Sports tourism has huge potential for Jamaica, especially as our athletes are doing so well in the different sporting arenas. We are also conscious that this event benefits special-needs organisations across the island, which offer potential in another niche, which we wish to develop - 'voluntourism'."
The Jamaica Constabulary Force has pledged full support for the benefit 5K not only by securing the event, but through a number of its representatives who are taking part. In addition to the JCF's contribution in making the Night Run/Walk safe, Marksman will also be on hand to provide additional security.