Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
IT was a carnival affair downtown Kingston on Saturday night as thousands of runners and spectators turned out for the first ever night road race in Jamaica, as Digicel created history with the staging of the Digicel Foundation 5k Night Run/Walk where Kirk Brown and Juliet Dinnel were crowned overall male and female champions.
Brown continued his impressive run this season as he covered the course in 15 minutes 06 seconds to get the better of Shawn Pitter in a close affair, as both touched the finishing line simultaneously, with Brown outleaning. Damian Bent was third, some distance behind in 15 minutes, 47 seconds.
The event, which started at the Digicel headquarters and continued along some of the major roads downtown, including Port Royal Street, Harbour Street, King Street, South Parade, West Parade, North Parade, East Parade, Church Street, Duke Street and Ocean Boulevard, saw young Dinnel doing well once again on the road as she stopped the clock at 21 minutes flat, with Danielle Jones finishing second in 21:11 and Karlene Blagrove third in 21 minutes, 21 seconds.
The theme of the event, 'Take Back the Night' in downtown Kingston saw its objective achieved as it was well supported, especially by corporate Jamaica, as the target was to achieve 5,000 entries. In the end, it was over achieved as there were 5,400 entries.
The race was designed to build awareness and raise funds for the special-needs community and those benefiting from the venture included Jamaica Association for the Deaf, Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, Jamaica Society for the Blind, Jamaica Autism Support Association, Step Centre, Mustard Seed Communities, NAZ Children's Centre and Randolph Lopez School of Hope.
Among the dignitaries present were Digicel Jamaica CEO Andy Thorbourne; Minister of State - Tourism and Entertainment Damion Crawford; Mayor of Kingston Angella Brown Burke and Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell.
Paulwell, who spoke on behalf of the prime minister and who, like Crawford, participated in the event, thanked Digicel for its gesture.
"This is indeed a great thing for downtown Kingston and I am happy for the support, and I am hoping this will continue for years to come," said Paulwell minutes before the event got under way.
Race director of Running Events Ltd, Alfred 'Franno' Francis, who started the race, was very pleased with the staging of the event.
"The Digicel Foundation 5K was an awesome success. Kingston, and in fact Jamaica, is better off for the magical experience that occurred. The experience sends positive tremors throughout our society. Goals have been achieved and we look forward with great anticipation to the 2013 edition," said a beaming Francis.
After the event, there was an entertainment package, which went late into the night. It included performances from former winners of Digicel Rising Stars, Cameal Davis, Dalton Harris, Tash and Latty J, along with recent winner Sharona Jonas and finalist Falon Phillips. Emcees for the night, Simon Crosskill and Ms Kitty, revved up the crowd all the way.
Female: 1. Tricia Gray Franklin, 2. Lisa Millingen, 3. Tamara Malcolm
Male: 1. Devon Williams, 2. Anjie Anderson, 3. Robert Webster
Female: 1. Paula Sinclair, 2. Tanya Lee
Male: 1. Rohan Gordon, 2. Maxwell Smith, 3. Vivian Lawes
Special Needs Walk
Female: 1. Natalie Moncrieffe, 2. Styann Thomas, 3. Novlette Ferguson
Male: 1. Cordell Howell-Huie, 2. Desvin Brown, 3. Delroy Wilson
Male: 1. Sheldon Cox 22:58, 2. Toto Campbell 23:32, 3. Jenard Williamson 26" 14
Female: 1. Sylvia Grant 24:47, 2. Colleen Morrison 29:20, 3. Sheryl White 32:01
Champion Team Run: LIME
Champion Team Walk: JNBS
Team Participation Award: Sagicor Life Jamaica
Oldest Finisher: Roy Thomas (85 years old)
Youngest Finisher: Israel Allen (six years old)