Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
The High Mountain Coffee 10K Road race set for Sunday, January 27, will be bigger and better this year. That is what both sponsors and organisers of the event are promising for this year's 30th staging of the event.
At a press launch of the event, which took place at the factory yard of organisers Jamaica Standard Products (JSP) on Thursday, it was revealed that a quality field will be competing this year.
Among the competitors are two athletes from the US Shore Athletics Club. They are Andrew Brodeur, a member of the Duke University track and cross-country team who is a three-time NCAA championship qualifier in 5,000 and 10,000 metres and 10K cross- country and Jennifer Nelson, an all-time record holder indoors and outdoors as well as cross-country running who attends the Monmouth University.
Like previous years, the event will feature a 10K race which has the reputation of being one of the most gruelling in local road race. The 10K race goes from the Melrose-Williamsfield roundabout, then up Winston Jones Highway, through Kendal to Shooters Hill and finishes at Williamsfield. There will also be a 5K run and a corporate 5K walk.
Competitors are set to earn cash prizes amounting to $500, 000 along with other prizes.
Main sponsors of this year's event, as it has been for the past six years, is GlaxoSmithKline through its Lucozade brand, which has sponsored the event to the tune of $1 million in cash and kind.
John O. Minott of JSP, whose father Jackie Minott started the road race, said he was proud that the High Mountain road race is the longest-running road race in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
"This year we are trying to see if we can raise funds for the Mandeville Regional Hospital to help with its dialysis centre. We have been examining the needs of some of our hospitals and, we recognised that the dialysis centre needs significant help," Minott said.
"There are many patients in Manchester who need daily dialysis and, because of lack of equipment and supplies for the equipment, many times there are delays in them getting their dialysis; so we are trying to raise some funds to improve the dialysis centre," he added.
Robeth Streete, commercial manager of GlaxoSmithKline, applauded the High Mountain organisers for the longevity of the event. Streete said: "This achievement speaks to the tenacity and the dedication of the organisers in helping to cultivate healthy habits in our nation and further develop our talent in athletics while giving back to the community."
Pamela Freeman of Power 106FM, a sponsor of the event, highlighted the importance of the road race to the community as it brought out a large amount of community people.
"This is their Christmas.You allow them to come and set up their stalls and earn something and that is commendable," Freeman said.