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No marathon


Sherrylyn A. Toppin

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For the first time in its 29-year history, the Run Barbados Series, slated for December 7 to 9, will not have a marathon.
A message announcing the change in the series, which was introduced in 1983, greeted people seeking information or registering online at www.runbarbados.org.
“The traditional marathon will not be included in the 2012 schedule as we seek to revamp the entire series after 25 years of sameness. This will allow us the opportunity to deliver a much more enhanced event in 2013,” the announcement read.
“Persons already registered for the marathon will automatically be transferred to the half marathon which will remain part of the 2012 series.”
The event is organized by the Barbados Tourism Authority, and marketing executive Winston Carter confirmed it had been decided to revamp the series, but said the official announcement would have to be made by sports tourism manager Gregory Armstrong.
Attempts to reach him were futile.
For several years, organizers have bemoaned the declining numbers in the race. They changed the routes and introduced the Midnight Mile, 5K, 3K and relays to attract more interest.
Last year, the numbers increased in all of the events except the marathon.
The decision has not gone down well in some sections of the local community. Eric Clarke, of the Ufukuzo Road Racing Club, said they were not in favour of the change.
“We don’t think it should have been cancelled. It is the premier event and if you drop the marathon, you cheapen the series.”
Clarke, who has run 20 marathons and two ultra marathons, said the decision would deprive runners in the Southern Caribbean the opportunity to find a marathon close to home, while those in Europe and North America “tend not to want to go too far from home to run a half (marathon)”.
He said runners boasted about the number of marathons they had done but the half marathon doesn’t count. Those who accompanied marathon runners, but were unable to run the longer event would opt for the shorter route.
Participants can choose to compete in the individual events which include the Powerade Fun Mile on December 7; the 10K or 3K on Saturday afternoon or the half marathon and 5K on Sunday.
To add some spice to the weekend, special challenge packages have been devised for the runners who will receive a commemorative medal for finishing three events.
The gold package includes the fun mile, 10K and half marathon; the silver package comprises the fun mile, 10K and 5K; while the fun mile, 3K and 5K make up the bronze package.

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