High Mountain Coffee Road Race back with a twist

By Alicia Sutherland
Observer staff reporter

Monday, January 14, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — After more than three decades as a staple on the calendar of Manchester to foster camaraderie, the annual High Mountain Coffee Road Race was noticeably missing last year.

The event, which is now in its 35th staging, is back on and is scheduled to be held on Sunday, January 27, as usual in Williamsfield.

However, the races will now be starting at 6:30am and not in the afternoon as had been done previously.

John O Minott, chairman of the High Mountain Coffee Road Race Committee, said at the press and sponsors briefing on Thursday that over the years there have been concerns from some 'would-be' participants about having to do the event in the sun.

“We have succumbed to the plea for the earlier time. As you may know, most road races of this nature are held in the mornings and as such we have decided to give the crowd what they asked for. By doing so we are hoping that we will get the numbers growing,” he said.

The organisers are urging corporate and other bodies to organise teams to come out and a prize for the team with the largest number of people is among the incentives on the day.

Minott disclosed that electronic (chip) timing technology will be used for the first time as a way of enhancing the accuracy and timeliness of results.

The High Mountain Coffee Road Race is a corporate social responsibility event of family-owned business and coffee processor, Jamaica Standard Products, which operates from Williamsfield in the parish.

Minott said that his father, Jackie Minott, is the conceptualiser of the race.

The elder Minott, he said, had a medical emergency which required him to be taken overseas around the same time that the race would have been held last year, resulting in the cancellation. His father is still abroad receiving treatment, he said.

John O Minott said the fact that the race is now in its 35th year means that it is the oldest road race in Jamaica.

The event is a way to promote togetherness in the community, trade and economic opportunity for micro/small businesses, encourage health and wellness and most importantly continue to raise funds for the Renal/Kidney Unit at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, which has benefitted from the proceeds for the last five years.

Michael Bent, Regional director for the Southern Regional Health Authority, said that it is costing the hospital $65.8 million annually to sustain the 58 patients and the support is necessary as in addition to replace and maintain equipment, there is a waiting list of patients that they do not currently have the resources and capacity to take in for treatment.

Retired senior Superintendent of police, Que Morgan, who is now a patient at the unit, commended the Mandeville Regional Hospital for the level of care that is provided.

He encouraged Jamaicans to reach out to each other because the future for everyone is uncertain, emphasising that the need to support kidney patients is crucial as it is costly and many are really struggling to survive.

Maurice Westney, meet director on the High Mountain Coffee Road Race Committee, advised participants to wear, preferably, running shoes that have been worn before and to fuel themselves at the water stops on the route.

He said that it is an all-inclusive race and in addition to the 10K run and 5K run/walk, different groups such as people with disabilities are invited.

Organisers say registration can no longer be done on race day. Races will start and end at the Williamsfield round a bout and the partnership forged with Shore Athletics Club out of New Jersey to have overseas runners at the event and boost the competition, still stands.

For people who are not able to participate but still want to contribute towards the development of the Renal/Kidney Unit, donations can be made to the High Mountain Coffee Road Race Wellness Fund at Scotiabank, Mandeville, account# 644311.

Sponsors for the event include the Jamaica Observer, Manchester Co-operative Credit Union, Barita, Power Services Company Limited, Jamaica Drip Irrigation, Sun Island, Sanco's Trucking, Mandeville Hotel and Bullhead Mountain Spring Water.

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