Team Jamaica Bickle’s (TJB) annual 5k Run/Walk, which started in 2011, will have a virtual format this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, which officially started yesterday, will run for two weeks, closing on October 24. Speaking at the launch of the event yesterday, TJB Chairman Irwine Clare said that while the organisation’s latest fundraising venture puts it in a competitive climate with the emergence of similar virtual 5k events, it hopes to expand its fundraising pool.

“We are operating in a space where it is very competitive,” Clare said. “COVID-19 has put a lot of economic challenges on the marketplace. We are very cognisant of that. So, we have set ourselves a figure of US$25,000 (J$3.5 million). Many times, we are going to the same sources for funding. That’s why we want to get as wide a spread as possible.”

The event has not only been used to promote healthy lifestyles, but also to fund TJB’s various ventures, including providing hospitality services to local and Caribbean athletes who participate in the annual Penn Relays. The pandemic, combined with the cancellation of the 2020 Penn Relays, has affected TJB’s fundraising programmers, as the group reported a loss of $22 million.

Clare said that the event will be a part of the change in fundraising strategies for TJB, which have been forced into play because of the pandemic. However, he says that it offers more latitude for different fundraising ventures.

“This virtual fundraiser has to be a part of our dynamic,” he said. “It has to a part of every organisation’s dynamic.

“[However] it also allows us to be creative. We have an asset with us, which is our Olympians, who we value. And whatever we do will be consistent with each organisation’s reputation. We are cognisant of the responsibility that the community has placed in us.”

Olympian Sherone Simpson will serve as patron for the event, as was announced by Olympians Association of Jamaica (OAJ) President Marvin Anderson. Anderson said that the memorandum of understanding signed by TJB and the OAJ presents the opportunity to embark on events that will be mutually beneficial to both parties.

“This virtual 5k, it fits perfectly with what we are trying to get accomplished because, at the end of the day, we serve something that is greater than any individual,” Anderson said. “How we maximise the virtual space will be critical in how we move our sporting sector forward.”

Participants will have until October 24 to register and complete their run or walk and upload their times accordingly. Registration is now open at https://events.elitefeats.com/bickle20.

Source:

Daniel Wheeler

Jamaica Gleaner