Sport

Kingston on show for City Run event

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 17, 2013    

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THE scenic, cultural and mystical assets of Kingston will be on display during the inaugural "Kingston City Run" put on by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association's (JHTA) Kingston Chapter.

The half-marathon and 5K Walk/Runs set for Sunday, March 10, will actually be a weekend of pure adrenalin and fun planned by the organisers from March 8-11.

The route has been crafted to highlight some of the city's most iconic attractions, including Emancipation Park, Devon House, Bob Marley Museum, Hope Botanical Gardens and through the Vale Royal and Kings House properties.

Nicola Madden-Greig, the JHTA's area chairperson, said Kingston has long been positioned as the sports, entertainment and cultural capital of the Caribbean and the Run will serve to highlight this.

"In our 50th year and also most importantly in our 140th anniversary of the city of Kingston, it is significant that we celebrate this milestone with this Kingston City Run. The aim is to make this... one of the largest in the Caribbean," said Madden-Creig.

"It's not just a race, but an entire weekend of activities geared towards health, fitness and fun," she noted.

The event, which has attracted a number of sponsors, will start with a function at the Norman Manley International Airport -- which

is a platinum sponsor of the event -- on Saturday.

There will be a health fair at Wyndam Hotel and an after-party on Sunday night at the Pegasus Hotel in collaboration with party throwers Dream Entertainment.

An exciting weekend package is be offered by Kingston area hotels for out of town and overseas visitors, including accommodation, airport transfers and entrance to the Welcome Night carnival Party hosted by Bacchanal Jamaica on Friday.

Meanwhile, Alfred McDonald, NMIA's senior director, commercial development and planning, said his organisation is pleased to be associated with the event.

"The airport itself is not deemed the destination. People come into a country and fly into an airport because they want to go to the destination, so anything that supports Kingston as an attractive destination, then the Norman Manley International Airport will want to support it," said McDonald.

The Mayor Kingston, Her Worship Angela Brown-Burke, said the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation is also behind the event. "We believe fundamentally that this is part of what we need to promote and encourage," she said.

The event, also has a charitable purpose, with funds being raised to provide sustainable support to the homeless through four main charities -- Open Arm Drop-In Shelter; Marie Atkins Night Shelter; Food for the Poor and the Missionaries of

the Poor.

The event will focus on raising awareness, engaging the participants to donate to these charities and provide a platform for assistance with rehabilitation efforts.

Andrew Mahfood, chief executive officer of Food For the Poor, praised the effort on behalf of the four organisations that will benefit.

"We really don't care where the map leads; we just hope that 20,000 or 30,000 persons come out and walk or run. The more they come out, the more money will be made for the homeless," said Mahfood.

The early bird entrance fee for the race is $1,000 for the 5K and $4,000 for the half-marathon. Package rates are also being offered for the entire weekend, starting at $3,000 (inclusive of welcome party, health fair, race fee and after-party), and the weekend package with accommodation starts at US$140. Special group rates are also available.

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