FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Over 500 competitors enjoyed perfect weather conditions, beautiful scenery and a world-class route at the annual Grand Bahama Dog Days Half Marathon, as event organizers designed a competition of international standards with Bahamian flair, in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the event, which successfully attracted runners from the United States, the Caribbean and throughout The Bahamas.
“This year’s marathon exceeded our expectations,” said event co-director Nikki Waugh. “We never imagined that this small race would grow into what it has become today. We are proud that runners from all over the United States and the Caribbean Islands came to Grand Bahama to compete in the marathon. As two working moms, Siobhan and I worked extremely hard on this, and we are thankful to our title sponsor the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA). Dog Days Half Marathon has truly grown because of their support.”
The routes for the half marathon, 10K (10-kilometer) race, 5K (five-kilometer) race and one mile fun run/walk began and ended at Taino Beach with a Junkanoo rush-out. International competitors marveled at the scenic atmosphere and appreciated the attention given to race details by organizers. “The support on the water stations set up along the routes, and the very cool ‘swag bags’, was great,” said one new competitor. “It’s my first time signing up with my office and I got a Dog Days UPF Sun shirt, a cool Aliv water bottle, GPBA wrist bands with zippers, stickers, coupons and the recycle bag. Impressive.”
One of the big highlights of the day was the after-race party. Participants celebrated their big finish on Taino Beach, where they relaxed and enjoyed music, purchased fresh produce from Regal Imports, had delicious waffles from The Wild Wagon and consumed ice cold Sands Beer from Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, one of the event’s sponsors.
Amid the festivities, many persons complimented the Dog Days Organizing Committee for executing a professionally organized event, and vowed to participate again next year.
“I loved the route! It was absolutely beautiful,” remarked 5K competitor Jessica Russell. “The weather was perfect and the swag bags were great. This is the first time I’ve ever received sunblock in a marathon gift bag! I will definitely be back next year.”
Finishing first in the half marathon (13.1 miles) male and female categories were O’Neil Williams from Nassau (1:13) and Cecilia Mobuchon from St. Martin (1:22). Each winner received a beautiful handmade glass trophy and a cash prize of $1,000.
The first-place finishers in the 10K male and female categories were Fabian Burrows representing FCP Run Club (46:23) and Annabelle Sykes (51:12). Both winners received new mobile phones from Dog Days event sponsor Aliv. Celebrations heightened as the winners in the various categories were announced. For the second year in a row, the Beacon School emerged as the winner of the Dog Days School Challenge. The undefeated champions will receive $500 for their first-place finish, and the school will also be treated to a celebratory pizza party by their sponsor, MSC Freeport (Bahamas).
The Grand Bahama Port Authority was the overall winner of the Corporate Challenge, with Grand Bahama Power Company finishing second and beating out third-place finisher Freeport Container Port (FCP).
The first-place finishers in the 5K male and female categories were Matthew Stephens (19:53) and Tracey Eckert (24:21). Both won tickets on Bahamas Paradise Cruise. In the children’s category, the first-place finishers were Celina Mellor and Harrison Gape. They won incredible prizes from Goombay Land.
Dog Days Half Marathon Co-Director Siobhan Antoni-Bates was appreciative of the support the event received from the Grand Bahama community.
“We are so thrilled to have completed our fifth year of Dog Days, and we feel that the event gets better every year. We extend a huge ‘thank you’ to our participants, especially our corporate sector. They are the ones that keep this race alive. We thank everyone for all they do, as we will be able to help so many due to what they give.”
For a full list of race winners and times, interested persons can visit the event’s website at https://www.grandbahamadogdayshalfmarathon.com or check out the event’s social media pages, where they can also find photos. The 2020 Grand Bahama Dog Days Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2020, and with the popularity growing, athletes might want to start training from now.