Amidst cool conditions and a wet course, 29-year-old Kirk Brown and 16-year-old Llori Sharpe emerged the men’s and women’s champions, respectively, at the fifth staging of the annual Digicel Imagine 5K Night Run for Special Needs in downtown Kingston on Saturday.
Brown, the 2015 champion and three-time winner of the event, was 11 seconds faster than 23-year-old Oshane Archibald, who was the second-place finisher, while Dwayne Graham clocked a respectable 17 minutes and three seconds to take third place in the men’s category.
Although the 2016 win was not one of his best winning times, Brown focused. “My aim was to come out here and win it another year. The wet roads made it a bit more challenging, but I’m glad I made it though.”
His female counterpart, Sharpe, who is also a junior Team Jamaica triathlete, crossed the finish line at 21 minutes and 47 seconds ahead of her closest rivals, 14-year-old Chantay Chamberlain and 36-year-old Arieta Martin, who came in 22 and 48 seconds later, respectively.
The teen was undaunted by wet surface conditions and held her composure all the way to the finish.
She reflected: “My objective was to make sure that I got out ahead of the pack that usually forms early in the race, and then get into my rhythm, increase my pace and cross the finish line.”
The win, she said, gives her confidence to go farther as a triathlete.
Brown and Sharpe lead a field of over 13,500 participants — the highest-ever for the fast-growing annual event.
In the coming weeks, Digicel will announce the total sum raised from the 5K and will hand over the monies to the nine beneficiaries, namely, the Jamaica Autism Support Association, Jamaica Down’s Syndrome Foundation, Early Stimulation Plus, Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, Mustard Seed Communities, Special Olympics Jamaica, Jamaica Paralympic Association, Abilities Foundation, and the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf/Deaf Can! Coffee.
The Digicel Imagine Night Run was sponsored by Mello FM, Marksman, PayPak, Jamaica Producers Group, Urban Development Corporation, Express Fitness, Main Event Entertainment, National Outdoor Advertising, Dairy Industries Jamaica Ltd, Honeybun, Innovative Signs, Jamaica Producers, ARRC Media, ProComm, The Lab, Courts Ready Cash, Courts Optical, Running Events, Pure National Ice, Logostitch, Gatorade, and Kingston & St Andrew Corporation.