By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology threw its support behind Sunshine Insurance Management, yesterday providing a grant to make sure that next weekend’s High School Relays in the Marathon Bahamas is another success.
The ministry endorsed the 26.2-mile race that will comprise of four competitors representing each school during the event that is scheduled to be held on Sunday (January 15) at Arawak Cay.
Shelly Wilson, vice president of Sunshine Insurance and a board member of Marathon Bahamas, welcomed the ministry to the list of sponsors that includes Scotiabank. While Marathon Bahamas is now celebrating its 8th anniversary, Wilson said this is the fifth for the High School Relays and she’s appreciative of the support given to help make a difference in the lives of young Bahamian men and women.
“This could not be possible financially, without the support of corporate Bahamas,” she said. “Scotiabank specially has given time and time again to support the students in the form of their registration, in the form of additional gifts that Students Run Marathon Bahamas receives.
“Also, corporate Bahamas, in the form of Mr Trevor Strachan, who himself is also an entrepreneur, but he finds the time and in his heart to give back by organising those students from both public and private sector to participate in Students Run Marathon Bahamas.”
Sports, according to Wilson, is the impetus for so many other avenues in one’s life, so although the students might feel that they are doing something small when they lace up their sneakers to compete, but if they apply that discipline to their everyday life, they would be surprised to see how it impacts them.
Strachan, a former middle distance runner at Queen’s College, said this is just a way for him to give back to the sport that has enabled him to secure an athletic scholarship to obtain a college education.
He noted that they are anticipating that the event will attract some 20-plus teams to compete, but right now they have 16 already signed up.
“We did have some challenges this year with the hurricane and one or two schools dropped out at the last minute, but we are making a last ditch effort to make our numbers better than they were last year,” Strachan said. “Be it what it may, we have already started the ball rolling for next year.”
Strachan, however, commended the CR Walker Knights for the stellar manner in which they have taken the time to prepare themselves for the event.
The Knights, who finished fifth last year, are looking forward to making their presence felt when they return to compete next weekend.
Kellon Lewis, who brought along five of their athletes, thanked the organisers for allowing them to compete and he stressed that the Knights are always ready for competition.
“The kids are very enthusiastic. They have been preparing for the last three weeks. They have been putting in the work,” he revealed. “I think it’s a good initiative, especially for the public schools. When they are given these opportunities, they can do so much.”
Jackson Mondestin, one of CR Walker’s athletes, said they are looking forward to competing, but he added a personal touch.
“It really improved on my athletic ability how I play a lot of sports, so I really enjoy this opportunity to participate,” he said.
The CI Gibson Rattlers won the title last year, followed by the St Andrew’s Hurricanes and the RM Bailey Pacers rounded out the top three.
Lionel Sands, the Director of Education at the ministry, said it’s with great pride that he presents much support needed to Marathon Bahamas.
“On behalf of the Minister and myself, the Ministry of Education is pleased to continue our support of Marathon Bahamas and its Student Run,” he said. “We see this is a part of our healthy student initiative. We are also encouraged by your focus for healthy lifestyle for young ladies and students alike. It goes without saying that the ministry supports your fight against breast cancer.”
Sands said there are very few people in the Bahamas who have not been touched by breast cancer or cancer in general, so they will never cease to support any effort to bring relief to people who have had that experience.
In addition to the High School Relay, Marathon Bhamas will provide two other opportunities for persons to compete in, including the half marathon (13.1 miles), which is geared mainly to the local communirty and the full 26.2 miles marathon where the majority of the international competitors compete in.
The action kicks of at 6 am from Arawak Cay.
The marathon starts at Junkanoo Beach (west of downtown Nassau) heading east through downtown Nassau over the western Paradise Island bridge and immediately returning over the eastern Paradise Island bridge. Route continues east to Montagu Beach with a westward turn onto Shirley Street all the way to Cumberland Street north.
At Bay Street, the course continues to the west, hugging the northern shores of Cable Beach, Delaporte and West Bay Street with the turnaround ¼-mile west of Compass Point returning to the most eastern entrance to Arawak Cay for an oceanfront finish.
The half marathon starts at Junkanoo Beach (west of downtown Nassau) heading east thru downtown Nassau over the western Paradise Island bridge and immediately returning over the eastern Paradise Island bridge. Route continues east to Montagu Beach with an westward turn onto Shirley Street all the way to Cumberland Street north.
At Bay Street, the course continues to the west, hugging the northern shore of Cable Beach with the turnaround being the second roundabout on the new Cable Beach strip returning to the most eastern entrance to Arawak Cay for an oceanfront finish.
As for the relay, the exchange zones and distances: leg 1 – 6.2 miles - start in front of McDonalds, Downtown; leg 2 – 6.9 miles - McDonalds to east of Sun Fun Resort (in front of the ‘castle-type’ oceanfront house –green/white); leg 3 – 5.6 miles - East of Sun Fun Resort to turnaround point (west of Compass Point) to Cave’s Height and leg 4 – 7.5 miles - Cave’s Height to Arawak Cay.
Prior to that, hundreds of Bahamians participate in the Susan G. Komen Bahamas Race for the Cure. The five-kilometre or 3/1 mile run/walk race start at Montagu Beach and finish east of the old Paradise Island bridge adjacent to the Police Station.
They kick of at 7 am.
Wilson said proceeds from the event go to assist the Cancer Society of the Bahamas, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, the Sister Sister Support Group and the Cancer Support Group of Grand Bahama.