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‘The Bahamas Half’ set for Sunday November 24

Half-marathon event opened to the public; limited to just 400 runners
  • A brief press conference was held at the Wyndham Nassau Resort yesterday to announce the 1st Bahamas Half Marathon event, set for Sunday November 24, 2013. From left are Marathon Bahamas representative Veronica Duncanson; Bahamas Half Marathon committee member Charles Johnson; Bahamas Half Marathon committee member Oscar Rolle; Bahamas Roadmasters representative Linda William; Ministry of Tourism Sports Department representative Jeff Rodgers; Bahamas Roadmasters representative Shavaughn Blades; Olympic relay gold medalist Eldece Clarke and Bahamas Half Marathon committee member Michelle Gibson. PHOTOS: AHVIA J. CAMPBELL TNG 2013

  • Bahamas Half Marathon committee member Charles Johnson gives remarks during a brief press conference at the Wyndham Nassau Resort yesterday to announce the 1st Bahamas Half Marathon. Shown from left are Ministry of Tourism Sports Department representative Jeff Rodgers; Johnson; Bahamas Half Marathon committee member Michelle Gibson and Olympic relay gold medalist Eldece Clarke.

SHELDON LONGLEY
Guardian Sports Editor
slongley@nasguard.com

Published: Sep 19, 2013

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With a mindset of giving distance runners another avenue for athletic success, Bahamas Roadmasters in conjunction with the Floridian based Wildside Online Inc., is organizing The Bahamas’ first half-marathon event, known simply as The Bahamas Half.

The event, which will be held on Sunday, February 24 starting at 6 a.m., will feature a half-marathon, a three-person half-marathon relay, and a 10-kilometer (k) race. Just like Marathon Bahamas, it will be held at the northern tip of New Providence, starting and finishing at Arawak Cay. The event will follow a western route, with a turnaround point of Baha Mar Boulevard for the 10k race, and at Delaporte for the half-marathon. One of the reasons for that is because of the scenic backdrop, inclusive of sun, sand and sea.

Shavaughn Blades, from Bahamas Roadmasters, said that the event was in the making for quite some time now, and is for runners of all ages and skill levels.

“The Bahamas Half is really a dream of our running club. We are excited to finally bring this event to the public,” she said. “This event is not only for runners, but walkers as well, so we want to encourage everyone to participate, and also to register early because this year, the number of participants is limited to 400. We cannot accommodate any more than 400 because of the safety factor involved. We don’t want to risk having too many persons on the streets and not enough volunteers and support staff to ensure their safety. We’re hoping to expand as the years go by, but for now, we just want everyone to register early and come out and support the event. We look forward to a fantastic event.”

The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) is expected to provide safety for the participants and volunteers during the event, and the course itself will officially close four hours after the start of the race. Early registration discounts are currently offered, but will increase in increments. Beginning September 2, 2013, local registration will be available at the Sports Center at all three locations –Harbour Bay, The Mall at Marathon and Sandyport.

The Bahamas Roadmasters Club travel around the world annually to partake in a number of marathons. In fact, some of their runners were in Boston this year, during the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Blades said that they wanted to complement the distance running events here in The Bahamas, and promote The Bahamas internationally at the same time.

“We run all over the world so why not run at home,” she asked. “This is going to be like a warm-up to Marathon Bahamas. It’s in November so the timing is perfect. It wouldn’t conflict with any of the distance events in Florida, and it will be just a couple months before Marathon Bahamas. We want to encourage runners here at home to partake in more events, and we also want to have persons come from abroad to run here, so not only will we benefit as a club, but the country will benefit through sports tourism as well.”

As for Marathon Bahamas, the 2014 race weekend is set for January 18 and 19. Speaking on behalf of the board of Marathon Bahamas yesterday, Veronica Duncanson said that they want to congratulate Bahamas Roadmasters and Wildside Online Inc. for setting the stage for their first half-marathon.

“I know that it will be a success and will become an annual event,” said Duncanson. “We at Marathon Bahamas throw our full support behind it, just like Bahamas Roadmasters and Wildside Online have done to Marathon Bahamas. We are going to be there with you working to ensure that your event is going to be successful. We also want to encourage Bahamians to register early, and come out and support the event. The charities that will benefit are worthwhile.”

Two deserving community organizations have been selected as beneficiaries. They are The Seahorse Institute and the Cat Island Children’s Home.

A number of corporate sponsors have come on board, including Gatorade, Cash and Go, CIBC Trust Company (Bahamas) Ltd., J.S. Johnson Insurance Agents and Brokers, BSI Overseas (Bahamas) Ltd., Carpet World, Bahamas Waste Management, the Sports Centre, Bahama Boat Tours and the Diamond Consulting Group. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and interested parties can contact the organizing committee at info@bahamashalf.com on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BHMarathon or by just visiting the website at www.bahamashalf.com. Persons wishing to be volunteers are also asked to contact the organizing committee.

Charles Johnson, also from Bahamas Roadmasters, is expecting the event to be truly competitive.

“There are going to be two elite runners out of Florida who will take part – the male and female winners of Marathon Bahamas 2013,” he said. “We are attracting persons who are already established in running, but we are also looking at a very broad spectrum of persons. Distance running is probably one of the fastest growing sporting disciplines in the world. When you look at the amount of long distance running that is held in Florida alone, on a weekly basis, it gives one an idea of the potential of long distance running.

“The Ministry of Tourism has bought into this idea. It has the potential of attracting a very large number of persons. When you look at the statistics, the age category is generally in that 30-40-50 range, and when they come to The Bahamas, they would probably spend a few days outside of the period that they are running. The event is going to be just before Thanksgiving, so we expect persons to come for a weekend of activities.”

Lee McCoy, from Wildside Online Inc., ensured that the event will be internationally certified, and Jeff Rodgers from the Ministry of Tourism’s Sports Department said that the ministry will do its part in promoting the event internationally, just like they do for Marathon Bahamas.

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