Thursday, Jul 18, 2019
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Marathon Bahamas at pivotal stage

Marathon Bahamas is at a pivotal stage. In just two years, it has become a fixture. Indeed, Marathon Bahamas has the potential to be the kind of grand sports/social affairs, the ilk of the glamorous Speed Weeks of the 1950s and 1960s; the Flying Treasure Hunt of the same era; and Grand Bahama Superstars event of the 1970s.

Franklyn Wilson, the Chairman of Marathon Bahamas Board, has widely been associated with successful projects. The trend continues with Marathon Bahamas. He was”all smiles”on Sunday, savoring the good feeling from a project well responded to. There is of course, room for improvement.

Chairman Wilson understands that purses ought to now be an item of high priority for Marathon Bahamas 2012. The event has reached that point for sure. Marathon Bahamas has made a significant impact but to move to the level whereby it rivals the top events in the region, in particular Florida, the added attraction has to be the offer of prize money for the top three finishers overall and funding also for category winners.

It is truly incredible that two highly successful events have been pulled off with hotel room nights being the top prizes. This was the case because Wilson and company really sold the event on the basis of special features like the location(a place of sunny, high-class weather conditions)and its monopoly in the country.

I’m sure there is full agreement that the time has come(though rather quickly)for added dimensions. Prize money is one and increased local participation is yet another.

Although the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization coming on board for the Sunshine Insurance Marathon Bahamas 2011 was a nice balance to the decline in local entrants, greater participation from Bahamians is important. That must be a strong focus for the future.

We can get to that point whereby Bahamians line the full course through New Providence to cheer on the runners and be a part of the Marathon Bahamas scene. Organizers must push to ensure that Bahamians have a vested interest in Marathon Bahamas. Once ago in New Providence, spectators camped out at different points of the marathon route, heightening the festive mood.

That scenario can be replayed. The solid connection with the Bahamian people must be made however, through stronger marketing and public relations efforts.

Also, some thought must be given again to the time the event will be held. In 2010, the first Marathon Bahamas was staged during February with Sunday the 14th being the big race day. This year, an unusual cold period throughout December was the reason many Bahamians were unable to conclude their training programs and get ready for Marathon Bahamas in January. Then, having just come out of the hectic Christmas holiday season, others found it impossible to include the race in the mix.

The above is food for thought.

Nevertheless, this is a good wicket Chairman Wilson is on. With some tweaking here and there, Marathon Bahamas seems set to be an annual extravaganza for years to come.

Congratulations to Germany’s Simone Maissenbacher who beat them all, recording the best time of 3:02:39. Grand Bahamian Delroy Boothe who stopped during this year’s event, finished in 2:59:31 for the 2010 title.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact frobertsturrup@gmail.com)

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