Another Thrilling Weekend in Barbados For the Annual Barbados Marathon Weekend
Between the 4 – 6th of December, all roads will lead to the Caribbean Island, more specifically to the glorious island nation of Barbados. The Run Barbados Marathon Weekend 2015 will consist of the Friday Fun Run, the 5K Fun Run, the 10K Race, the Half Marathon and Marathon.
Barbados Marathon: The Island
Barbados is only 21 miles in length and 14 miles in width or roughly 2.5 bigger than Washington DC. The country is number 66 of the top high income world economies and the world’s 53rd richest country.
As a thriving country, Barbados play host to one of the most prestigious running event in the Caribbean, the Run Barbados Marathon Weekend. This year, the distance running event will take place on the weekend of Dec 4 to 6, 2015. This 3 day weekend is open to everyone and the last day of signing up is on December 1 at midnight.
The History of the Run Barbados Marathon
Run Barbados began to take form in 1982 or some 30 years ago with Sir Austin Sealy and Carl Bayley. Sir Austin Sealy was the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) president at that time and the event was part of a strategic plan to improve tourism to island. Carl Bayley of the giant Jamaican conglomerate was a willing partner in helping boost trade and the tourism industry in Barbados during the low season that starts every December.
The first Run Barbados event started with the 10K Bridgetown. It was only years after that the 5K and half marathon were added. Originally, the marathon would start at the airport and go through the old towns then down the coast to the highway before finishing north of Speightstown. The first marathon which took place in 1983 was won by Bruce Lauckner from Trinidad. Last year Bruce returned to Barbados and was the race announcer during the event.
Run Barbados Marathon has produced some amazing runners from around the world like John Tracy, 11 time winner Kim Goff, record holder Hugh Jones, David “Devil” Griffith, Lydia Albert, Victor Ledger, Reuben McCollin, and Adelbert Browne, among many others.
The marathon has been described as a race not of speed but of endurance. It has ably achieved its original goal to attract tourists to the island but has gone beyond that by becoming a national event and source of pride among the Barbadians.
The event was not without its troubles like when the routes were reversed which turned the marathon into a climb or when the route went way off course which made for a lonely run for the participants with no spectators. At one point, the organizers tapped a Canadian, Allan Brookes, to handle the event and his ideas were not very adaptable to the running conditions of the island, although his intentions were impeccable and honorable.
Today, the locals have taken charge and are running the show and it is truly an exciting time for all as everyone gets to enjoy the local flavor, enthusiasm for life, and gamesmanship very common among Barbadians.
What makes up the Barbados Marathon Weekend?
Barbados is known for being a friendly place. The marathon courses are mostly flat and picturesque.
Imagine running while overlooking the magnificent bay or going through historical Independence Arc and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bridgetown seaport. There is also the inspiring 1865 Chamberlain Bridge and Charles Duncan O’Neil Bridge to cross, the Boardwalk, Independence Square and multiple views of the Caribbean Sea. The different runs take your through a tour of the island’s landmarks and glorious sights with people all along the sidelines to cheer you on.
This year, the Run Barbados Marathon Weekend has been restructured into a wholesome family day. The organizers are re-introducing the AIMS-IAAF-certified marathon after several years’ hiatus. The event will be supporting the Broadway to Barbados Charitable Trust and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados.
Broadway to Barbados is an organization that funds the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and other notable projects. In January this year, this organization was able to donate over $700,000 to upgrade the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados is a nonprofit organization that helps the Barbadians who suffer from heart attacks or strokes. These are the top 2 leading cause of death in the island and the organization relies entirely on donations for its operations.
There will be special considerations for wheelchair competitors, recreational runners, and families who want to run or walk together. Expect to meet and greet Kim Goff who will be around to celebrate her milestone20th run in Barbados and 25th year as a marathon runner.
The weekend event will start with a Friday 8 pm Fun Run that will not be timed but will have medals for the top 3 male and female finishers. All participants will receive a medal. Wear a costume and win Most Original Costume, Scariest Costume, and other fun prizes. After the run is a party with food and drinks at the Dover Playing Field.
On Saturday, Dec 5, events will start at 4 in the afternoon for the fun run or fun walk and at 5 pm for the 10k scenic run. The half marathon and marathon will take place on Dec 6 at 5 in the morning. Expect water stations, toilet stations, and music to be playing along throughout the course. The weekend will end with a beach party and on Dec 7, participants are given special rates for lunch deals and snorkeling.
Barbados Marathon Weekend: Half Marathon
The half marathon is the most popular of all. In fact, the Caribbean hosts as many as 25 half marathon every month throughout the year from Trinidad, the Cayman Island, and Barbados. Last year was a memorable time in Barbados as the first Caribbean male, Cleveland Forde, won 3rd place at the 10K and half marathon. Forde came in after 2 Kenyans on both races.
Another Guyana racer placed fourth in the women’s 10K Road Race, Alika Morgan making her the second Caribbean woman to place in this event. Typically, the races are bannered by Kenyans but by looks of it, they are starting to get serious challenges from others and this year, you can expect something similar to thrill spectators and runners alike.
Barbados Runners’ Comments and Feedback
Three decades of hosting a marathon is no easy feat. There have been many comments about this event and an overwhelming amount of them are positive, encouraging, and supportive. For many participants, the Run Barbados Marathon is not just a distance running event for 3 days; it’s a 3 day island party! What makes it so unique is that the event is friendly, well-organized, and fun-oriented. It’s not the most organized nor the most competitive marathon but it is probably the best place you could enjoy a December marathon event where the sun is hot and the course is mostly a slow gradient incline. Barbados also happens to have some of world’s most beautiful beaches that beckon you to stay a few extra days to enjoy the tropical weather.
Runners all recommend that you come prepared with your own drinks and snacks for immediately after your run. Otherwise, there’s a lot of food, drinks, and partying throughout the island. It is also interesting to note that the event is small compared to big city marathon events but this only means you have a greater chance of winning a prize!
How to Join
Interested runners can contact the Events Manager for Run Barbados Weekend at firstname.lastname@example.org care of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
However, you can sign up online at the event’s website at http://raceroster.com/series/2015/6644/run-barbados-marathon-weekend. There are offsite locations where sign-up is accepted like the local convenience stores and malls and the 5 Wine World locations.
Race kits will be available starting November 27 at the Blue Room Sports Bar.