Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) will hold its inaugural Virtual 5K Run/Walk, October 9 thru 24, 2020, moving from its local staging at the Baisley Pond Park in Queens, NY, where it has been held since 2011, to the virtual space.
The announcement was made on Friday, October 9, 2020, during a media launch hosted by the organization. Chairman of TJB, Irwine Clare, Snr., spoke of the dream of Sean Phillips of Awesome Power Track Club (co-organizers of the event) some two years ago, to add a virtual component to broaden the event’s reach. The event has now gone fully virtual in 2020 because of the Covid-19 Pandemic which has caused the cancellation of sporting events and several large gatherings so far this year.
The virtual event is expected to garner widespread support with participants able to sign up from anywhere across the USA, the Caribbean and indeed, globally. Once registered, participants have approximately two weeks from October 9-24, 2020, to complete their run or walk and upload their time using the Strava APP which can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play Store. Two lucky runners will be awarded automatic entry to the Reggae Marathon, to be held virtually this year. There will also be ten prizes, awarded to five males and five females. The announcement of these prizes will take place on Sunday, October 25, 2020, at 12 noon and will be streamed live on Jamaicans.com, on TJB’s Facebook Page and its other Social Media Platforms. Registration is now open at https://www.teamjamaicabickle.org/register/
TJB is known for its ground-breaking work on behalf of Jamaican (and the Caribbean) athletes competing at the annual Penn Relays held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. The organization provides Hospitality services such as; meals, ground transportation, medical care and assistance with hotel accommodations. This foray into road racing fits into the organization’s policy of promoting wholesome events and activities through which communities can benefit. The event also serves as one of its several fundraising activities which drive its many programs. One such is its “Defibrillator to Schools” program which was initiated six years ago after the death of a Jamaican student in competition at a cross-country meet in Tobago and the recognition of a lack of those devices in schools. The life-saving devices are now available to athletes participating in sports at high schools in Jamaica.
The President of the Olympian Association of Jamaica (OAJ) Marvin Anderson, OLY commended TJB for its innovative move in using the virtual space to promote sports, offering some kind of normalcy against the background of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The two organizations recently signed a memorandum of understanding from which they hope to derive mutual benefit as they seek to broaden their reach. In the spirit of the agreement, outstanding Olympian, Sherone Simpson has come on-board as an ambassador of the 5K Run/Walk. Simpson was a part of the 4x100m gold medal team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and won a silver medal in the 100m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In speaking of her role, she said the following: “I am proud to be the Ambassador for the Team Jamaica Bickle Virtual 5k Run/Walk. The organization has been supporting Jamaican student-athletes for over 26 years, especially at the Penn Relays. They have now extended their reach in helping to equip schools with defibrillators. It is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle for our physical and mental health, especially during this pandemic. Let us all come together in supporting this initiative of Team Jamaica Bickle!”
In a pre-recorded message to the organization, Sabrina HoSang Jordan, CEO of Caribbean Food Delight, TJB’s Sponsor and partner at the Penn Relays, apologized for her absence due to conflicting schedules. She expressed pride in being a sponsor of the virtual 5K and spoke of the long-standing partnership with the organization since its inception. She reiterated the need for the continued support of the athletes in these “uncertain times” and commended Irwine Clare and the volunteers of TJB for their successful stewardship.
As supporting sponsor, the Reggae Marathon which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year is awarding automatic entry to two lucky entrants from the 5K to participate in its annual event which will be held virtually on December 6, 2020. Diane Ellis, Sponsorship Director, offered the Reggae Marathon’s full support to the event and their commitment to its promotion.
Other sponsors are Grace Kennedy, Jamaica Tourist Board, Energise, Jamaicans.com, Awesome Power Track Club, Joseph Sports LLC and True Tribute Organization.
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