Guardian Group Keep It Alive 5K Night Run to meet IAAF standards — Beckford

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

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Race director Alan Beckford says best effort is being made to meet standards of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body of athletics, for this year's staging of the Guardian Group Keep It Alive 5K Night Run in Kingston and in Montego Bay.

The Kingston edition is slated to start 7:00 pm on May 25, while the Montego Bay leg is to commence 7:30 pm on June 1.

“We looked at international standards, we looked at IAAF standards as to what we should have for a road race and we try to ensure we have all of that in place,” Beckford said at yesterday's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

Of particular concern to organisers of the Keep It Alive 5K is the bunching of thousands of participants at the start of road races, which have become exceedingly popular in Jamaica over the last five to 10 years.

“These races are getting large, [so] we want people to start the race in a controlled manner, instead of all at once,” he said in reference to the oftentimes chaotic rush at the start as faster runners try to get to the front.

“We want to have slower people at the back and have participants starting the race in waves. We will ask people who can prove they have times of 25 minutes and under for a 5K to provide evidence and we put them at the front,” Beckford, who has vast experience in organising race events, explained.

The respective male and female race winners are promised $25,000 each from total prize money of $200,000.

Organisers say they have a fund-raising target of $35-million which is earmarked for the acquisition of cancer treatment equipment for Kingston Public Hospital, University Hospital of the West Indies, Cornwall Regional Hospital, St Ann's Bay Hospital, and Mandeville Regional Hospital.

They say the races have raised $80-million since the inaugural event in 2014.

Beckford said emphasis has also been placed on recording times and measuring the course.

“We have a very reliable racing system, so you get correct times. As the race is completed you can get results online as well as you get a receipt at the end of the race.

“We know that our course has been looked at by Bernard Conway, who is the number one measurer in the Americas and he has approved our work. All races that I work with I'm pretty confident that the measurements are good,” he told reporters and editors.

Beckford also noted the partnership with the police force as it relates to security considerations and traffic movement.

—Sanjay Myers

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