The world economic crunch has caused a reduction in prize money for the 28th edition of the popular run Powerade Run Barbados series, but the participation interest is even higher than normal for the December 2 to 4 event.
In addition, over BDS$100 000 will be at stake, with first place in the marathon, half-marathon and 10K netting US$1 500 for men and women.
Second and third will win US$1 000 and US$500. Local men and women will earn US$1 000, US$750 and US$500 respectively which is US$250 higher than what is being offered to the Caribbean competitors in each position.
The 5K offers BDS$750, $500 and $250 in both male and female schools categories as well as male and female clubs. The 3K offers a similar staggered prize structure for male and female schools’ winners.
In a press briefing yesterday morning at Cricket Legends of Barbados on Fontabelle, St Michael, the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) organizers seemed hesitant to indicate that the prize monies, an ongoing sore point with local runners, have been reduced from what was offered in 2010.
However, great emphasis was placed on the fun and health components of the Run Barbados Series, with the tourism package being a big pull for the foreign competitors.
Even so, Canadian Jerry Friesen, who is back for his second successive year as race coordinator, indicated that the event was comparable or even surpassed many of the fun race events in Europe and North America in terms of the cash prizes on offer.
“You cannot make comparisons between our event and ones like the Boston Marathon where over 40 000 competitors take part,” he reasoned.
Although the event has not seen a big jump in sponsorship, the regular partners have remained, with Nation Publishing joining this year and introducing a warm-up 10K which will be staged on November 20 to provide further preparation for local runners.
Mention was also made of the greater number of races held in Barbados which enhanced the preparation and interest of the locals.
Friesen added that more than 330 overseas competitors had already registered – double the registration for last year.
The series will kick off on Friday, December 2, with the Fun Mile which begins at 10 p.m. instead of midnight to enhance the after-party element.
The following Saturday will see the staging of the 10K and the Powerade 3K and newly introduced Schools Challenge.
The series will climax on the Sunday with the Barbados Marathon, the Scotiabank Half-marathon and the 5K.
Friesen indicated that all of the winners from 2010 will be returning to defend their titles.
Robert Letting of the United States will have Canadian Reid Coolsaet nipping at his heels once again, and Janet Cherobon of the United States will be arriving fresh from earning victories in her country’s 10K and the half-marathon the following day.
The Barbados series will have an international flavour once again, with competitors expected from Europe, North America, South America and the Caribbean.
Run Barbados’ new charity partner is the Little Pink Gift Foundation, with a team of 20 having been already registered from that group and garnering over $10 000 in pledges from the overseas athletes.
Part of this year’s programme will see the introduction of the Run Barbados Challenge where taking part in a combination of races will see the finishers taking gold, silver or bronze in addition to their finishers’ medals, depending to the three races they run.
Technical director Rawle Clarke said that every step would be taken to ensure that the courses were in order. For the marathon, the course would remain open and manned for a total of seven hours.