By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
IN an effort to increase the awareness of distance running in the country, Bahamas Roadmasters has increased the cash purse for its annual Bahamas Half Marathon.
The event, scheduled for 6am Sunday, November 18 at Arawak Cay, will see the top prize for both the male and female winners pushed from $1,000 to $5,000 each, the largest amount ever offered for a local race.
"This year we have increased the pot to try and attract some of the international and our elite athletes to come out and compete," said Ebby Jackson, one of the race organisers.
"That's our main focus going forward. We want to get as many local competitors to come out and participate. We really want to see if we can also attract more of the international runners to participate as well."
Competitors will get a chance not only to compete in the 13.1 mile half marathon that will travel around the western end of the island and back to Arawak Cay, but there will be a half marathon three-person relay and a five-kilometre walk.
Oneil Williams, who won an exhibition 12-mile run from Montagu Beach to Goodman's Bay and back, covering both the old and new Paradise Island bridges over Mackey Williams and Sidney Collie on Saturday, is expected to lead the parade of local competitors.
Jackson, however, said they are working in conjunction with the Hilton hotel as the hosts of the competitors from overseas at a discounted accommodation.
"We have about 30 overseas runners that normally participate in the race," Jackson said. "But we're hoping that this increase in the prize will increase the participation of more competitors to come out and participate."
Over the past five years that the Roadmasters have hosted the event, Jackson said they've attracted close to 800 competitors and they are hoping that they can double that amount.
As usual, the organisers will assist a number of charitable organisations including the AIDS Foundation, Ranfurly Homes for Children, Pilot Club of Nassau Pool Project, Seahorse Institute, Old Bight Mission Children's Home, Special Olympics Bahamas, Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled, Hurricane Joaquin Relief and the Bahamas Heart Association.
Online registration is now open and persons can register through bahamashalf.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local competitors can call Four Seasons Nursery at 676-2182 or Touch Control Limited at 377-1733.