Halsall-Peart is Run Ambassador for Food For The Poor 5K


Halsall-Peart is Run Ambassador for Food For The Poor 5K

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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Having won several marathon medals over the years, Stacey Halsall-Peart is accustomed to achieving things.

But being named Run Ambassador for Food for the Poor then witnessing first-hand the joy of a beneficiary, made her emotional.

The Charity organisation Food For The Poor's fifth staging of the 5K Walk will take place this Sunday, May 19, and once again their aim is to raise enough cash to assist with their housing solution for the needy.

In its 35 years in Jamaica, Food for the Poor has provided over 25,000 housing units, and Halsall-Peart, chief executive officer of Advanced Integrated Systems and president of Pacer's Running Club, will be playing her part.

“The Food for the Poor 5K is one of our must do events for the year. It was the only 5K that Pacer's would cancel their regularly scheduled Saturday long run for,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“The 5K events are a great way to harness the love of running or walking — and to be able to do what you love, and to help people at the same time is an incredible feeling,” she added.

“At the Food for the Poor launch we met a young lady who was a recipient of one of the 500 new homes granted from funds raised from this 5K. The tears rolled from her eyes as she expressed her gratitude to have a roof over her head and a door to lock at night. Food for the Poor has housed thousands of Jamaicans through their efforts and this alone is incredible. We may not be able to gift a house by ourselves, but collectively we can create many homes,” said Halsall-Peart.

Halsall-Peart, who enjoys running as a part of healthy lifestyle, doesn't believe she is the greatest of runners, but one thing she knows, is that she is an inspiration.

“In terms of accomplishments I cannot say that I'm fast, because I am not. The seven marathons and numerous half marathon medals that I have were given to everyone else who crossed the finish line. What I can say is that there are a few people out there who now run and love running, because we appeared to be enjoying ourselves,” she noted.

Halsall-Peart is involved in a series of long-distance Triathlon races — running, swimming and cycling — organised by the world triathlon Corporation as part of her preparation for the marathon races.

She did her first sprint triathlon early last year and although she found it extremely difficult, it was also exhilarating. Earlier this year she did an Olympic distance tri in South Beach, and come September she will “nervously” be a part of a group of 12 that will be going to Augusta, Georgia, to do a Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run).

“The Miami Half Marathon is one of my favourite events. It's easy to get to and it's also a familiar place, so there's no stress. I have never done the Miami full though; my last full was in Savannah, Georgia, with 26 other runners from the Pacer's running club.

“I have to say that Savannah is as beautiful and 'Georgian' as one could imagine. The run started in the historic district and took us on a tour of Savannah, including 'beyond the tracks' where the line for the food kitchen had started to form. There is a certain quaintness about the city — like you could make yourself comfortable on someone's patio and they'd come out and offer you a cup of tea,” she explained.

“The club trained for 18 weeks for Savannah and most had never done a marathon before. Some came to training quite sceptical, prepared to not make it to the end, but all did. You discover so much about yourself during those 18 weeks. You find strength and resilience that you never knew you had before, and [it] not [only] makes you a better runner but a stronger, more determined version of you. I always tell runners at the beginning of training that marathon training is a religious experience — and at some point, they get it,” said Halsall-Peart.

“Pacer's takes a bunch of people who want to run and turns them into a family. As a group we are grateful for the ability to do what we love and so it wasn't by accident that we chose the STEP Centre as our charity beneficiary for the past few years,” she noted.

STEP is a school for the therapy and education of children with multiple disabilities.

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