In an exciting end to the inaugural European Union-Jamaica 5K race on Sunday (March 12), a fundraising event for a special literacy summer camp at Kingston High School, the male top performers provided a nail-biting finish.
Garfield Gordon, the winner, and Noel Ellis, the second-place finisher, both crossed the line in 00:16:07, while Dwayne Graham placed third with a time of 00:16:17.
The women’s run event saw Jozanne Harris finishing strong to claim first place in 00:20:00, after her recent win at the Sigma 5K. Michelle McNally placed second with a time of 00:22:00 and Pauline Murphy placed third in 00:23:00.
Both male and female top-three winners in the EU-JA 5K were the same in the recent Sigma 5K, with the difference being Ellis moving from third place in the Sigma race to place second in Sunday’s EU-JA 5K.
Hosted by broadcaster and social media influencer Khadine ‘Miss Kitty’ Hylton, scores of the participants remained for post-race entertainment, which featured dancehall sensation Romario ‘Laa Lee Ranks’ Ricketts.
The camp, part of the Ministry of Education and Youth-led Inter-Ministerial 34 Schools’ Strategy and the broader Citizen Security Plan of the Government of Jamaica, is supported by the EU and was developed to strengthen services specifically in schools located within zones of special operations.
Among the Government officials who participated in the race were: Dr Horace Chang, deputy prime minister and minister of national security; Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade; Fayval Williams, minister of education and youth; Delroy Chuck, minister of justice and Delroy Williams, mayor of Kingston.
Members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organisations included: Olivier Guyonvarch, French ambassador; Jan Hendrik Van Thiel, German ambassador; Nick Perry, US ambassador; Juan José González Mijares, Mexican ambassador; Rungsang Masakui, Indian ambassador; Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Caribbean director and Denise Antonio, UNDP resident representative.
European Union Ambassador Marianne Van Steen said: “The inaugural staging of the EU-JA 5K event on Sunday was a resounding success and met our objectives. We were particularly pleased with the participation of the community groups and runners of all ages, which was a symbolic unification in our push against crime and violence.”
Race director Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis said he was pleased with the turnout, especially from community groups in downtown Kingston, who were sponsored by the European Union.
Among the sponsors were: St Mary’s, Mountain Peak, Recycling Partners, Cal’s Manufacturing, King Alarm, Running Events Jamaica, Kingston Creative, TVJ, Radio Jamaica, HITZ, Jamaica Observer, The Best Dressed Chicken and Catherine’s Peak Spring Water.