Mon | Dec 4, 2023

Myton 5K back on New Year’s Day

Published:Friday | December 30, 2022 | 1:04 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Neville Myton at Boys’ Championships in 1965.
Neville Myton at Boys’ Championships in 1965.

After a two-year hiatus, the Neville Myton Road Race returns to the local competition calendar on January 1. It will be staged for the 36th time in Myton’s hometown of Old Harbour Bay.

Race organiser Dennis May said road racers and the Old Harbour Bay community alike are looking forward to the event’s return after a period of absence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The vibes are good and the residents of Old Harbour Bay were very concerned about whether we were going to have the event. So now they know we are having the event, I think they’re feeling much, much better,” May said last Saturday.

The race route has been changed after consultation with residents. “Other years, it was just straight up the road and back, but when I spoke to the community, they wanted a great feel of it being a community race,” May explained. “We’re going to start at a place called Dagger Bay, then through the community, up the road on to Neville Myton’s Boulevard an then back down,” May said.

He theorised that the race, which was Myton’s brainchild, will fit neatly into the training schedule of schools and clubs aiming to compete at the Sprint Fest and the Jamaica College Invitational set for January 6 and 7, respectively.

“I expect that there will be a fair amount of persons will be coming because it’s the first of the year. We still have a week before JC, so some people would want to get a little distance in and a little flush out just before they start their final week of preparations for JC,” May outlined.

Formerly known as the Old Harbour Road Race, the event has been renamed in memory of the former Excelsior High School middle distance star. Myton did the 880 yards/mile double at Boys’ Championships in 1964, ran set a world junior record of 1.46.4 to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, and then repeated his Champs double in 1965.

Even now, no Jamaican under the age of 20 has beaten his 1964 time.

Myton is also the only Jamaican to win the boys’ high school mile at the Penn Relays, a feat he achieved in 1965.

Supporters of the event include the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, the Sports Development Foundation, Flat Bridge, Myton’s fellow Olympians including 1964 200 metres finalist Una Morris, his San Jose State teammate John Carlos, the 1968 200m bronze winner, two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, and corporate entities Caribbean Digest, Clarendon Services and Duggan Consulting.