Kingston, Jamiaca – Saturday, October 5, 2019: No amount of rainfall could deter the over 10,000 people who showed up to wheel, run and walk in the 2019 staging of the Digicel 5K Run for Special Needs.
With one of the largest contingents of special needs participants of any local race, the Digicel 5K was all about inclusivity. The event kicked off at 7pm with the wheelchair participants. Runners took off shortly after and the walk, which hosted several blind persons on the front line, rounded out the race.
“We do this 5K for the special needs community, and we are very happy for their continued participation,” said Karlene Dawson, CEO for Digicel Foundation. “With this 5K, we are able to raise money for special needs while also giving persons with disabilities a platform to raise awareness and show that they can participate and compete on a high level.”
Alphanso Cunningham led an exceptional team of wheelers. The Paralympian, who holds the record time in the wheelchair category and was lauded as the frontrunner for the Digicel 5K, conceded the win to Navardo Griffiths. Griffiths finished in 21 minutes and 14 seconds, 24 seconds ahead of Cunningham. The confident speedster described the course as “easy” as he collected his first place trophy.
Keveroy Venson and Holmwood Technical track star Samantha Pryce won the men’s and women's run respectively. The walk races were dominated by Duwell Allen and Natasha McKenzie
5 Beneficiaries Chosen for 5K
This year, Digicel Foundation launched a call for applications, allowing more organisations to share their special needs projects with the foundation. The grant recipients are: Community Based Rehabilitation Jamaica, The STEP Centre, Early Stimulation Plus, Best Care Foundation and Jamaica Visually Impaired Cricket Association.
“It is with the help of our business customers, partners, and sponsors that we are able to give back to these great causes,” said Dawson. “We will be donating $2.5 million to each of these organisations — they need funding, and we are proud to be able to impact them in this way.”
The 2019 Digicel 5K was made possible with the support of Running Events Jamaica, NSWMA, UDC, Marksman Limited, Express Fitness Jamaica, Innovative Signs, Gatorade, Crystal Punch, National Outdoor Advertising, LASCO, Dairy Industries, Minott Services, Jamaica Producers Group, Consolidated Bakery, Tru Juice, Honey Bun, GraceKennedy, World Brands, Pure National Ice, Image One, PROComm and The Lab.