It was a chilly morning but persons came out and showed their support for the first Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Masquerade Race Weekend road races this past Saturday at Arawak Cay.
The event was supported by track clubs, schools and individuals and clubs from the community. It featured a 10-kilometer (10K) race and a half marathon relay. There was also a kids athletic festival after the main running events.
“When we began to strategize about how we would begin rebranding the BAAA, we thought that we should do events that would attract Bahamians of all walks of life to come and be a part of the BAAA in very different ways,” said BAAA President Drumeco Archer. “We thought that an out-of-stadium competition that was non-competitive and engaged people in a very different way was an approach that we would take and the fun run/walk, the 10K and the half marathon relay has become a hit for the federation. I am really pleased about the turn out.”
He believes that this was a good start for them to get to a better place next year.
The popular race of the morning was the half marathon relay. The overall and open division winner was the team from the University of The Bahamas (UB). The UB Mingoes team comprised of Tyler Gardiner, Elijah Smith, Leonardo Swain and Joshua Davis.
Gardiner, the lead runner, said: “It was a smooth leg. I had complications on the first hill but on the second hill I just built up stamina and finished the bridge.”
Waiting to collect the baton from him was Smith, who said he did not have much issues with his leg. Swain, who ran the third leg, said: “Coming off the second exchange we had a good lead so going into the third leg I just had to keep it going, hold the pace, push through and coming down to the final leg just make sure give a hard push to set up the lead for our finisher.”
Davis carried the team home. Other winners in the relay included the C.R. Walker Knights, whose under-20 boys and girls swept their respective divisions.
Eve Maycock-Dorsette was the overall female winner in the 10K race. The male under-40 division was won by Russell Cameron. Archer said for next year they will look to target their audience differently.
“I think we are shaking off some of the rust and next year I think we will target our audience a bit differently,” he said. “We have a captive market that is really the clubs. We didn’t have the kind of support that we thought we would get from clubs but I believe that it is new that people are still hesitant about what this event means to them. I think that high schools would be a target for us, club participants would be another target for us and also corporate Bahamas.”
Archer said that the One Mile Dorian Fun Run/Walk which was in aid of Hurricane Dorian victims could have been better supported but added that Track Shack out of Florida, who hosted a meet on behalf of the BAAA, donated funds to the federation for relief efforts.
“We were fortunate to have a sponsor out of Florida—Track Shack who hosted a meet on behalf of our federation and the proceeds from that meet they would have donated to the BAAA. We are so grateful to have the support not just locally but internationally as well. I want to say a special thank you to John Hughes, the owner of Track Shack,” Archer said.
The weekend ended with an awards banquet at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas yesterday evening.