Holmwood track star among winners at Digicel 5K
Fifteen-year-old Samantha Pryce crossed the finish line in 20 minutes and 9 seconds to become one of the youngest winners of the Digicel 5K Run for Special Needs last Saturday night in downtown Kingston.
Pryce, a 3000m and 2000m steeplechase athlete of Holmwood Technical High in Manchester, was determined to take the top prize this year.
"I came in third last year, so I was determined to win this time. I had it in mind to win before the race even started, and I did," she said.
Llori Sharpe and Kazue Yamazoe were second and third, respectively, in the female run category.
Garfield Gordon, 20, of G.C. Foster College, was the overall winner of the annual event. He used the Digicel 5K as an opportunity to train for the upcoming athletics season with a strong finish at 16 minutes and 6 seconds. Gordon was followed by Aryamanya Rodgers and 2017 Digicel 5K winner, Oshane Archibald.
"I stayed with the pace then took the lead after they started going too slowly," a confident Gordon shared. He added: "I won the Digicel 5K in 2015, so I just came back to win this year."
The walk races were dominated by Duwell Harris in 27:30 and Anna-Kay Swaby in 33:40.
For the fourth year, Paralympian and Digicel Ambassador, Alphanso Cunningham, finished first for the male wheelers in 23:26, while 50-year-old Vinette Green was the fastest female wheeler in 32:29.
Touted as Digicel's most successful 5K event yet, more than 12,000 participants signed up for the event making the gathering at the Digicel headquarters along the Kingston Waterfront the biggest ever.
"We are delighted and grateful for the overwhelming show of support for this fantastic community event that more people look forward to supporting every year. And getting more support puts us in a better position to do more towards improving the welfare of our special needs community," said Karlene Dawson, CEO of the Digicel Foundation.
Seven special needs organisations will benefit from 100 per cent of the proceeds raised from the 2018 staging.
They are: Jamaica Autism Support Association, Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, Early Stimu-lation Programme, Community Based Rehabilitation Programme, Jamaica Society for the Blind, Promise Learning Centre, and Jamaica Down's Syndrome Foundation.
"Our 5K is fun, that's for sure, but it's also for a great cause. It was so heartwarming to see participants of all backgrounds and abilities come together in support of our special needs community. Thanks to all our sponsors, donor partners and participants. We are already looking forward to your support in 2019," Dawson added.