The Grand Bahama Dog Days Half Marathon has grown popular among local marathon runners.
Now in its fifth year, organizers Nikki Waugh and Siobhan Bates are happy to once again host the 10K, 5K, One Miler this coming March 23 that starts at Taino Beach.
The half marathon is slated for a 6:30 a.m. start. The 10K race is set for a 7:00 a.m. start, the 5K race will get underway at 8:00 a.m. and the One Mile walk/run catering to families with dogs and/or children will commence at 8:30 a.m.
All interested persons were strongly encouraged, this past Tuesday, March 12, to get registered for the Grand Bahama Port Authority title sponsored event. Registration is available online at www.grandbahamadogdayshalfmarathon.com or www.active.com and searching Grand Bahama Dog Days Half Marathon.
Since the half marathon was introduced to residents five years ago, the participation numbers have increased. What started with just 200 runners in its inaugural year and has grown by at least 100 participants each year that followed. Waugh said she expects to see the same increase once again.
“We’re expecting, hopefully, 700 runners this year. We will be doing race registration the morning of, but we encourage everyone to please register before that so you can be guaranteed to have your swag bag which will be filled with tons of goodies.
“Afterwards, we will have a Farmer’s Market, the Wild Wagon will be present; there will be a lot goings-on afterwards. The awards ceremony takes place at 11:00 a.m.
“We have great prizes, cash prizes for our marathon winners starting $1,000 for first place male and female,” Waugh disclosed, “$500 for second place and $250 for third place. We have a ton of other great prizes and Aliv has come on board this year so we’re excited about that.
“We have a lot of great sponsors and we want to thank our corporate community for supporting us as always.”
Waugh further added that a corporate and school challenge is also on the cards for the upcoming fund-raiser.
“We will host a corporate challenge as well as a school challenge. Every participant earns one point per mile. The corporate challenge has been really successful in the past few years, in a competitive and camaraderie way between the GBPA, GB Power, PharmaChem, and Freeport Container Port.
“Last year the GBPA was our winner. We encourage everybody; big or small businesses, to get registered.
“This year it’s even more exciting because MSC came on board and sponsored the Beacon School. Our school challenge offers a $500 cash reward for the most points earned.”
Bates disclosed the Half Marathon was birthed when another half marathon was expected to take place but was ultimately canceled. This led to Waugh, who was training for the aforementioned half marathon, and Bates to forge their own competition and to the benefit of the Humane Society.
“Instead of canceling the whole thing, we decided to do our own race but benefitting the Grand Bahama Humane Society. Throughout the years we’ve been able to give back to other charities like the Grand Bahama Children’s Home and the Rotary Water Relief program.
“We’ve had a really good feedback from it, we’re very excited. We didn’t think we’d make it this far but thanks to the Grand Bahama Port Authority coming on board the last few years as our big sponsor. Without all our other corporate sponsors we would not have been able to make this happen.”
Henry St. George of the Grand Bahama Port Authority likened the upcoming half marathon to the Conchman Triathlon as one of the “key community events” the GBPA is proud to support.
“We love the fact that his race brings the community together. But more than that the proceeds go back into investments in key social projects here: The Grand Bahama Humane Society, the Children’s Home, the Rotary Water Relief program and to the Beacon School.
“I encourage everyone to come out and participate.”
Aliv’s Northern Bahamas General Manager Robert Stanton stated the company is heavily committed to community engagement and is excited about the prospect of connecting with more than just one charitable project.
“This is quite unusual for us as in this community engagement involves a number of charities. Normally we’re involved with just one specific charity event. This gives an opportunity to connect with the Children’s Home, the Humane Society but support the community at large; something we’re very keen to do.
“Siobhan and Nikki have done a fantastic job in the last five years. Let’s push for more runners. I think they’ve raised so far in excess of $65,000 for local charities. So, let’s see if we can boost that some more this year.”
Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama Iram Lewis has thrown his support behind the race for charity and encouraged others to jump on board and participate in the worthwhile event.
“We want to encourage all of Grand Bahama to come out and support this worthwhile initiative. There are several events and persons can find the one that suits their abilities. It’s also about health and wellness and even after the race there will be a Farmer’s Market selling healthy products.
“So, it’s a worthwhile event for families to come out and participate in.”