The 20th staging of Jamaica’s largest and most renownd 5K, the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run was launched yesterday morning at the Spanish Court Hotel under the theme, “20 years of running for a purpose”.

The race is scheduled for Sunday. February 18, 2018, beginning at 7:30 am.

As they did last year, Sagicor has set a target of $50 million with all the funds raised going to beneficiaries the Spanish Town Hospital Neonatal Unit/Special Care Unit and the St Christopher’s School for the Deaf, the oldest residential school for the deaf in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The patrons for this year’s staging are Olympian Usain Bolt, Miss Universe 2017 second runner-up Davina Bennett and fitness coach and CEO of Dynamic Lifestyle Patrice J White.

Bolt will be a patron for the event for the second time and he said he jumped at the opportunity to partner with Sagicor as one of the causes that would benefit this year hits very close to home.

“I was very happy when Sagicor approached me again to be a part of the Sigma run this year, especially because I personally experienced my godson being born prematurely, and for me, that was one of the biggest things, so when they came and told me the cause I said, ‘I am about this, I want to be a part of this’. I want to help as much as possible’.

“If I can get a chance to really contribute and help Sagicor to raise $60 million it would be a big deal as I was there first-hand to see what my friend went through. What NJ (Nugent Walker) Junior went through was rough (as) he had to fly overseas for medical care.

“I am calling all of my friends and my party friends, all of corporate Jamaica, everybody. My foundation is also focused on the youth so for me to help the youth would be brilliant,” said Bolt, who retired from the track as the world’s fastest man in sprints.

Chairman of the Sagicor Foundation R Danny Williams went to bat for lending support to Jamaica’s health care system.

“We understand and empathise with the many challenges facing our country’s health-care facilities and it is for this reason we continue to seek your support and pray for the perpetual success of Sigma so that we can all play our small part in helping to be part of the solution,” he said.

President and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica Christopher Zacca praised everyone associated with the event over the years.

“The Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run pulls together thousands of participants from over 200 corporate and small businesses annually, in addition to the thousands of enthusiastic individuals, who all come out to support the worthy cause. With your support we have been able to accomplish so much over these years,” he noted.

Since 1999, the charity event has raised over $250 million which has benefited over 20 health and child-related institutions. Recently, some of the beneficiaries included the Bethlehem Home for abandoned and disabled children, Mandeville Regional Hospital, Jamaica Cancer Society, The Paediatric Unit at Black River Hospital, Cornwall Regional Hospital’s Neonatal Unit, Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation, University Hospital of the West Indies Special Care Unit, UWI Sickle Cell Trust, Jamaica National Children’s Home, Best Care Lodge, Bustamante Hospital for Children and the Victoria Jubilee Hospital Neonatal Care Unit.

Registration for the race opened yesterday and will close on Friday, February 2.

Published in the Jamaica Observer