Marathon Bahamas Attracts Hundreds of Visitors
Hundreds of visitors are expected in New Providence on the weekend of January 16-18 for Sunshine Insurance’s race weekend, which includes the Susan G Komen and Marathon Bahamas races.
The event features runners from 25 countries and 31 states and is supported by a large volunteer contingent from every walk of Bahamian life.
Race weekend has an event for all fitness levels and is ideal for families, a group of colleagues or a friends' run-and-stay-cation.
The Bahamas Race for the Cure 5K, which precedes the marathon on Saturday, is an opportunity for people of all ages to celebrate survivorship, remember those we have lost to the disease, and make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. It can also be used as a 'warm up' for the marathon.
During a press conference held Wednesday, January 6, Vice President of Sunshine Insurance and Director of Marathon Bahamas Shelly Wilson said there are thousands of people who participate in the event and among those numbers, 40 per cent are visitors.
Last year, because of the race, the Sunshine Insurance race weekend helped The Bahamas make the list of the top 50 destinations to race.
“A lot of persons who participate in the Marathon, which will be held on Sunday are non-Bahamians and so that has direct correlation to January being one of our slowest months economically,” she said.
“We put heads in beds and that equated to 1,900 room nights among all of our participants. The runners don’t just come for the race. They come for a day or two and they want to have a short run so that their body is acclimated to our temperatures. And so when a participant comes it is not like a cruise passenger. They are coming to stay two to three nights – they are brining relatives and they are eating in our restaurants and they are shopping and so it really has made a difference economically.”
Ms. Wilson said many of the participants come from the United States and Canada in the north and as far as Germany and the United Kingdom in the east.
“We have a participant that we used in our publicity this year who is over 80-years-old from Germany. We look forward to him participating again this year. He is a fan favourite of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. We always have representation from United Kingdom as well. Anywhere where you can get a direct flight in and out is where most of our participants come from,” she said.
American participant Justin Gillette is once again participating in the Half Marathon run for the second year.
He was the overall winner of Marathon Bahamas last year.
The Sunshine Insurance Race weekend is now in its seventh year.
Ms. Wilson said there is room for the races to grow. She said she is hoping that in the future the marathon race will hold a purse or cash prize for the overall winner.
“Persons pick this race because it is a destination run. This is the best country in the world and if you are able to see our geography on your 26.2-mile run – where else would you be? I imagine as we grow a purse will become a reality. Hopefully, we will get more support from more corporate citizens and that will be a reality soon,” she said.
Atlantis Paradise Island, Scotiabank, the Ministry of Tourism, the Nassau Airport Development Company and Focol are sponsoring the race weekend.
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