Island Run Antigua gets off to roaring start

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 “This is the type of challenge we anticipated having,” said Karl Thompson, Managing Director of Unique Vacations, a few minutes after crossing the finish line after day one of Island Run Antigua, put on by the Sandals Foundation.

Thompson was among 25 runners who took part in a very intense first day of the eagerly anticipated charity run.

The four-day event, which comprises an ultra-marathon 100km run, a 21km half marathon run this Saturday, and a 10km walk also on Saturday, aims to raise £100,000 (US$122,000) to bolster paediatric services at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, as well as the SickKids Caribbean Initiative.

After a rainy start to Wednesday morning’s run, the determined runners pressed on through the route which culminated in Jolly Harbour to cheers from both local and international supporters.

According to Sandals Grande Antigua’s ultra-runner, Kamar Thomas, who crossed day one’s finish line first, the challenges of the road were nothing he wasn’t prepared for.

“I know the route well. I probably went harder than I needed to today, considering I still have three days ahead of me. I think I will try to pace myself over the next two days and close out on Saturday with everything I have left in the tank,” he said.

The opening day’s group also included runners from Sandals affiliate Unique Vacations Inc UK, and Digicel Antigua and Barbuda, alongside several local participants who have committed to the 100km four-day ultra-marathon across the island.

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More than two dozen runners took part in a very intense first day of the charity run (Photos courtesy Sandals)

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation, said she was pleased with how the opening day turned out.

“This has been such an exciting event to both plan and to be a part of. We definitely saw a few things out there today that we might change going into subsequent days but it has truly been an amazing experience so far,” she added.

Local runner Vernon Lyndsay said, “It was tough but I made it through. It was an adventure and overall a good challenge and push.”

For fellow participant Rajiv Burton, the changing weather was another element that tested their wits.

“It was really harder than expected. I think the rains, then sun, and then rains again made a big difference. But it was a good initiative and it’s up to recovery time right now,” he said.

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Island Run Antigua has been well supported by several corporate partners including TickeTing App, Digicel Group, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Anjo Wholesale, British Airways, Mail Metro Media, Runners World and Good Housekeeping magazines, Northstar Meetings Group, Corpay, Hays Travel, 7Stars, EMC3, Upsamdown and UYN.

The event continued yesterday with what promised to be a real test for the participants, as they took on the long incline at Fig Tree Drive before ending at English Harbour.

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