Having awarded over $15 million to needy students over a four-year period, the Mo Bay City Run charity organization is being lauded for its philanthropic work by stakeholders in western Jamaica.
The event, now in its fifth year, is slated for May 6 with a starting time of 6:00 a.m. at the Old Hospital Park, Gloucester Avenue, Montego Bay. It will see participants competing in 10k/5k races. All proceeds will go toward assisting students at the tertiary, high school and early childhood levels.
For Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) President, Omar Robinson, the Mo Bay City Run has not only evolved “beyond everyone’s wildest expectations,” it is now the kind of marquee event “that will attract tourists,” while “building student leaders of tomorrow.”
“The original intent was to provide assistance to students attending tertiary institutions within the region. So overwhelming was the response over the past four years that an early childhood component was introduced, and for the very first time, a high school will now be added to the list of recipients,” he says.
Mr. Robinson, whose JHTA organization will be donating $100,000 to the cause, notes that the hotel sector throughout the region has thrown its weight behind the event and will once again make up a significant number of the persons expected to participate.
For his part, Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship Homer Davis, says the charity awarding more than $15 million over a four-year period is nothing to scoff at.
He adds that the Mo Bay City Run is a classic example of what is right with the city and by extension Jamaica.
“What started out as a mere vision has evolved into something truly special and I have to ‘big up’ the organizers. We have seen and experience all the negative headlines and bad publicity here in Montego Bay over the past year or so. Now here is an event that has come to the fore and which is about to reshape our image in a very positive way. Not only is it a welcome boost for education, but there is also a tourism element as well as a health and wellness component,” the Mayor tells JIS News.
In 2017, over 4,000 participants lined up for the event, with some very attractive sectional prizes given to the winners. Also, regardless of the category and order of finish, every single runner was given a medal for having participated.
For his part, newly appointed Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for North Western St. James, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the Mo Bay City Run is now one of those “iconic events that has taken on a life of its own.”
“This is an event which offers many great opportunities for our students, the parish of St. James and western Jamaica as well,” the Minister notes.
“The race’s main objective is to promote development in education by assisting our students to realize their dreams. I have personally watched the growth of the Mo Bay City Run, from its very first staging four years ago to now being one of the eagerly anticipated events on our local calendar here in the West. It is also a big plus for tourism and will certainly help to improve the product,” the Minister tells JIS News.
Dr. Chang, in whose constituency the event is being staged, says the organizers must be commended for their vision, adding that “this race has succeeded in bringing all of Montego Bay together and has shown us what is possible when we use our collective minds for a greater good.”
In the meantime, Acting Director, University of the West Indies, Western Jamaica Campus, Patrick Prendergast, says he is extremely pleased that charitable organizations, such as the Mo Bay City Run, are seeing “both the vision and virtues” of investing in education.
“There is really no substitute for a good education and it is very encouraging to have organizations like these assisting students to realize their dreams,” he adds.