Although the marathon has been discontinued, the 2012 Run Barbados series is seeing an increase in participation as online booking is on the rise for the second consecutive year.
Organizers at the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) told MIDWEEK SPORT yesterday more than 600 runners had registered for the 29th edition and more people were joining every day.
This year’s series will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Last year, more than 330 runners registered online. Yesterday afternoon, that number was at 555, comprising Barbadians as well as runners from the Caribbean and farther afield.
On Monday, more than 100 people registered at the BTA’s Bridgetown offices.
Tomorrow will be the final day for registration there. Online registration will close at midnight tomorrow, but athletes can continue to sign up at Divi Southwinds from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday at the Bay Street Esplanade from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To date, more than 50 entries have been received from Trinidad and Tobago, about 30 from England and almost 40 from Canada and the United States.
Germany also had 11 registered online runners, while entries have been received from Antigua and Barbuda, Sweden, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Hungary, Poland, The Netherlands, Australia and Luxembourg.
Of that number, about 130 have indicated they would be competing in the half-marathon.
Some familiar faces are among the elite athletes. Kim Goff, who has been a competitor for 20 years and 11-time winner of the marathon, will be in the half-marathon this year.
Richard Kessio, the defending champion in the both the 10K and marathon will be back, as well as half-marathon winner Simon Sawe, of the United States.
Sawe’s compatriot Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, winner of both the women’s 10K and half-marathon, is not expected to defend her titles.
Marathon champion Leah Kigen of Kenya, Canadians Matt Loiselle and Megan Brown, Judy Kimuge, of the United States, and former marathon champion Amy Stiles née Chalk, are also expected back.
From the Caribbean, Cleveland Forde, Alika Morgan and Kelvin Johnson, of Guyana, former champ Pamenos Ballantyne, of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidadian Curtis Cox and Jamaicans Arieta Martin and Shawn Pitter are down to compete.
The Barbadian challenge should be led by Jerome Blackett, who has dominated the road this year, as well as Sheena Gooding and Carlie Pipe.
The 2012 Run Barbados series will feature the Powerade Fun Mile on Friday in St Lawrence Gap; the 10K and ICBL 3K on Saturday and the half-marathon and 5K the following day. (SAT)