By Neto Baptiste
Amidst the stresses brought on by the still ever present coronavirus pandemic and the new threats of the Saharan dust, the charitable nature of a group of individuals led by Paul Mather David, a regular visitor to Antigua from the UK, provides welcomed relief as the body gets set to host its Dockyard Challenge charity event, a fundraiser for the Friends of the Care Project on July 12.
David, during an interview on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, explained what the fundraiser is all about and how the public and fitness enthusiasts could get involved.
“I’ve been exploring the trails and doing a lot of swimming and running and it struck me that we should do a challenge and raise some money for a good cause so that’s where the idea of the Dockyard Challenge came from. The good cause is called Friends of the Care Project and the Care Project is a facility that looks after children who are differently abled,” he said.
“These are children with severe mental and physical challenges and Friends of the Care Project’s aim is to give them a better life so it pays for a therapist to take care of them, taking them on trips to the beach, getting them Christmas presents, birthday presents and all the kind of stuff that a normal child would come to expect.”
Noting that registration is currently ongoing via their Facebook page titled “Dockyard Challenge”, David said courses that would involve hiking, swimming, walking/running, are designed to cater for all levels of fitness enthusiasts and or competitors.
“It’s a physical challenge so it could be done by individuals and it could be done by teams as a relay. What it consists of is swimming and hiking around the beautiful Nelson’s Dockyard Park, which is Antigua’s UNSECO World Heritage Site. So you are going to be swimming across Freeman’s Bay from Galleon Beach, if you are doing the swimming leg, and the hiking leg is over the goat trail between Nelson’s Dockyard and Pigeon Beach and back,” the UK visitor said.
“The other one is going from Galleon Beach, up to Shirley Heights and back down, so if you want, you can do the whole thing which is going to be a 500 meter swim, followed by a three-mile hike followed by another 500 meters swim and then another 400 meters hike.”
The chief organiser also assured that protocols will be in place to protect all participants and spectators alike.
“We are going to be enforcing social distancing and mask wearing, and the only times people won’t be required to wear masks is obviously when they are swimming or when they are hiking by themselves on the trail. So if anyone is spectating or standing still then they would be expected to social distance and wear a mask,” David said.
“The start and finish line is on Galleon Beach so there won’t be any possibility to eat or drink on the beach itself as that would be a breach of the regulations. We have permission form the National Parks Authority, we have also been liaising with the Commissioner of Police [Atlee Rodney] and other relevant authorities,” he added.
Registration for the event starts at $30 for the basic package, standard packages are $50, and premium packages cost $100.
Participants can register via Facebook. The challenge is set to start at 8 am on July 12.