??Acting Minister of Tourism, Senator Haynesley Benn (left) congratulates ladies 2nd place winner, Amanda McLeod, while 3rd place winner, Lindsay Hayes (second from left) and guest speaker with Cruise to Run 2012, Sarah Reinersten, (far right) look on.
(A. Gaskin/BGIS)

Some 400 tourists and Barbadians headed to Spring Garden Highway this morning to experience sea, sand and fun, for the Cruise to Run 2012.

The 5k race saw the cruisers, and nearly 100 local competitors including students from the St. George Secondary School, St. Leonard’s Secondary and the Grantley Adams Secondary School, run the round trip route from Brandons Beach to the Flour Mill.??

Barbados’ Jason Wilson placed first, with his countrymen Jerome Blackett and Shamar Maynard placing second and third respectively.

In the ladies division, Sarah Ann Grant from Barbados placed first, while Canadians Amanda McLeod and Lindsay Hayes, placed second and third respectively.

Acting Minister of Tourism, Senator Haynesley Benn, described the event as "a wonderful opportunity to strengthen linkages between sectors, with tourism leading the way".?? He revealed that the turnout for today’s event spoke to the strength of sports tourism, adding that he was "glad the youngsters from the schools benefitted", not only from being able to participate, but also from the shoe drive where cruisers donated sneakers to athletes in need.

The Minister also observed that linking tourism with the areas of sports and education while getting young people involved, was a means of taking the industry further, adding that "more of these types of exercise could be organised with the cruise lines".?? He offered his thanks to the organisers for continuing with the event, with Barbados having been part of the itinerary since its inception, and encouraged the cruisers to return to Barbados for a longer sojourn.??

Jodi Friesen, whose late husband Jerry was the creative mind behind the Cruise to Run concept, explained that the event’s success over the past six years was thanks to the collaboration with the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and the Run Barbados Team.

She revealed that Jerry’s inspiration for the event came from "the very cold weather in Canada.?? My husband was a runner and he would go out on his long run on Sunday morning, and that’s where he’d do alot of thinking.?? And, one day he came up with this concept – he thought ???how can I get out of this cold weather in the middle of winter?’ I had always wanted to cruise; and we put the cruise and the running together and this is how it all turned out," she said.

Mrs. Friesen noted that over the years "the BTA has been beyond supportive of our efforts here and we’re so grateful for everything they’ve done for us".?? She also revealed that the event sought to contribute to the islands they visited in a tangible way: "We have this programme called Runners Give Back, so we give new or gently used running shoes to local athletes. In the other islands we’ve [donated] school supplies, books to the library, we’ve done Ronald McDonald House Charities donations and we purchase t -shirts from various running clubs to support them," she said.

Noting that 2012 had proven to be the second biggest year for the event, Mrs. Friesen pointed out that "the growth has been wonderful…it’s been fantastic, I think it’s going to [continue to] grow, the word just has to get out and we’ll get there!"

Barbados is the final destination in Cruise to Run, which also made stops in St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua and Dominica.


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