Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
More than 6,000 participants are expected to compete in today's second staging of the Digicel Foundation 5K Night Run/Walk, which will take place in downtown Kingston starting at 7 p.m.
After a successful staging last year, when for the first time in Jamaica there was an event of this nature at night - this year's event is expected to be much bigger as participants race to raise funds and increase awareness around the country's special-needs community.
This event will engage Jamaicans of all ages and abilities, who, through their numbers, will become the axis of change to redefine the societal perceptions of persons living with special needs.
Once again, full support is expected from corporate Jamaica as this time around, some 11 associations will benefit from today's event, an increase of three on last year's number. The 2013 beneficiaries are: Jamaica Association for the Deaf, Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, Jamaica Society for the Blind, Jamaica Autism Support Association, Jamaica Down's Foundation, the STEP Centre, Mustard Seed Communities, the NAZ Children's Centre, Genesis Academy, Early Stimulation Plus, and Liberty Academy.
Last year's male and female champions, Kirk Brown and Juliet Dinnel, will be hoping to defend their titles. However, they are not expected to have things their own way as several of the country's top middle-distance athletes, especially those from top high schools, are down to compete.
The event will start at the Digicel headquarters on Ocean Boulevard. It will proceed west along Ocean Boulevard, left on to Port Royal Street, on to Water Lane, right on to Pechon Street then left on to Harbour Street, left on to King Street, left on to South Parade, right on to West Parade, right on to North Parade, then right on to East Parade to Church Street, left on to Harbour Street, right at the corner of Exchange Place, right on to Port Royal Street, left at the corner of Duke Street on to Ocean Boulevard, then finish at the same start point.
Awards will be presented immediately after the race for the different categories - a) Overall Male/Female Run/Walk/ Wheelchair (first, second, third), b) Youngest/Oldest Run/Walk Finishers, c) Champion Run/Walk Team, d) Largest Participating Team.
Following the presentations, there will be a post-race celebration which will last until 11 p.m. Brand Ambassadors Tifa and I-Octane, fresh from his scintillating performance at the Port Royal Seafood Festival, will be performing during the entertainment set.