At 90 years of age, veteran road racer Roy Thomas is still blazing the trail and Running Events Limited, through this year’s staging of the Everyone’s A Winner 5K & 10K, will be recognising his exploits.
The April 29 event, set for the iconic Hope Gardens, got off to a positive start at yesterday’s launch as the organisers seek to raise funds for the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB).
Organisers of the two-race series – the second set for June 17 – will this year be presenting a trophy named in honour of Thomas to the top team of both events.
Thomas, who was on hand at the ceremony at the JSB’s Old Hope Road base, used the opportunity to share a few words of wisdom.
“I think this country, like the rest of the world, is in the business of disregarding age as a factor, telling you that if you are over 80 you have to sit down and don’t do anything, just read. But I think that whatever age you are if you want to do something, just do it….I am here at 90,” Thomas declared.
“Another thing, runners at all stages, if you running you are going to lose a lot of moisture, so bear in mind that when you are, running you have to keep the mouth closed, keep the tongue moist and breathe through your nose.
“Otherwise your tongue gets dry, your throat gets dry and you are going to need a gallon of water. And you don’t really need a gallon of water, when you get to the water stand take up a sachet, wet your tongue and pour the rest down your back to keep you cool and lively,” the veteran shared.
Meanwhile, with proceeds from the event set to give the JSB a boost in their thrust to upgrade their technological capacity, Running Events Limited through its foundation, is committed to donating a minimum of 25 computers and specialised software for the lab.
Running Events Limited, having started the Everyone’s A Winner series eight years ago, is also targeting 2,000 registrants, with the first 1,500 finishers across all events set to receive medals.
With the event being the first in the second outing of the Jamaica Moves Campaign Corporate Challenge, Minister of Health Christopher Tufton also used the opportunity to announce a $300,000 contribution – $250,000 of which will be through his ministry with the remainder being his personal contribution.
“This contribution is fairly small but just an indication of our commitment to ensuring that we give all of our Jamaican people an opportunity to excel and live a happy and healthy life.
“So today (yesterday), from a health and wellness perspective, we are here to declare that the blind and visually impaired people are healthy people and they can be productive people and we want to encourage full support in giving them the opportunity to realise their full potential,” Tufton said.
“Jamaica Moves is happy to participate in this event and this represents the first in the second circuit of the Jamaica Moves Corporate Challenge.
“Last year was very successful as we had 16 companies; I’m not sure what the numbers are for this year, but we still have up to Friday, which is the deadline, and we look forward to this event being an important part of that circuit,” he added.
Along with the 5K run/walk and stroller categories, the minister’s personal contribution has paved the way for a new category to award the top blind or visually impaired participants.
Daemion McLean, chairman of the Jamaica Society for the Blind, welcomed the move.
“It is indeed a pleasure for the Jamaica Society for the Blind; blind and visually impaired persons are making progress in their lives and progress that needs to be facilitated, not just by their families or the community, but the society at large,” McLean noted.
“Based on that fact, it is important that we rally various entities to be a part of this cause. You all would have seen in various publications the different challenges that people who are sighted have as it relates to gaining scholarship for tertiary education, some even having struggles to gain it for secondary education.
“Blind and visually impaired persons face similar challenges, and Jamaica Society for the Blind saw it fit to establish a scholarship fund that will provide this assistance to blind and visually impaired persons, so an initiative like this to raise funds is very important and integral,” he continued.
Director of Running Events Limited Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis also urged Jamaicans to get involved as organisers seek to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the JSB.
“The wants and needs are out there and it is so much that you sometimes become overwhelmed with emotions when you see it.
“And so corporate Jamaica and Jamaicans on a whole, we have to lend our support to society. We cannot leave it to the next person, so we have to step up to the plate and assist in any way we can because nothing bad comes out of doing good,” Francis opined.
Individuals and teams can now register at www.runningeventsja.com.
Published in the Jamaica Observer