NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Hundreds of participants walked, ran, biked, skated and shoved their way through the 5K, 10K and 16K race courses for the 2022 UBFIT race weekend held on 29and april to 1st May.
It was the first timed race in two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of the event which helps the university build community support and raise funds for the critical needs.
The in-person component of Race Weekend, held on Saturday, drew more than 350 enthusiastic participants of all ages in a collective community effort behind the cause of higher education. Dozens more participated virtually, according to a press release.
“The fact that we could be together again after a global pandemic that kept us all at home was a success because the community was finally able to come together,” said Kandice Eldon, Co-Chair of the UBFIT Planning Committee. .
“We had over 350 attendees; some walked, participated virtually, and some walked out, and we are so grateful for the participation of the community, our fitness clubs, our running clubs, everyone who took the time to come out and support UBFIT again in our fifth year.
Eldon noted that the diverse community support, including contributions from Bahamian businesses, the UB community and volunteers, contributed to the success of the race weekend.
She continued, “I am a community builder, so for me when people come together, it makes me the happiest. Seeing our corporate sponsors able to come out, like Charles Johnson of JS Johnson, and Oaktree Medical Center, our title sponsor, and our alumni and friends at UB, was truly heartwarming. I must say thank you to our committee and our volunteers – we could not have succeeded without a very strong team within the institution and also outside UB.
Race participants of all ages took off from the start line at UB’s Oakes Field campus on Saturday morning and completed the course that took them down Nassau Street, down West Bay Street and back to the Oakes Field campus. All participants received their medals and the winners in different categories also claimed their trophies during a short ceremony at the race village.
Among participants happy to return to the races in person was avid walker Leslie Miller.
“I love this university,” Miller said.
“It’s a wonderful race, probably one of the best races we have in the country. I always tell students that if you can go through UB, you can get into any university anywhere in the world. That’s how proud I am. I think all Bahamians are proud of this institution. You are all doing a great job and your competition is one of the best in the country. Your medals are beautiful medals, your shirts are beautiful, you do a wonderful job. I am so proud of everyone associated with UB.
Upon crossing the finish line, each person was greeted with cheers of victory by pom-pom-waving cheerleaders and awarded a medal of completion. A Junkanoo rush by the Junkanoo All-Stars capped off the activities.
Other attendees like Justin Higgs of Bahamas Wholesale Agencies Ltd., an in-kind sponsor, said attending UBFIT in person was like a dream come true.
“That was awesome, man,” Higgs said.
“Obviously with the pandemic it’s been so long since we’ve done a real race. So it’s good to come here and give my best, and obviously I finished second, so that was really good. UBFIT did a lot to get people outside and start exercising, which is obviously what we need in this country.
Sponsors and corporate partners such as Doctors Hospital; Bahamas Health; JS Johnson; the walk-in clinic; AML Foods Ltd. ; and Vaughn L. Culmer & Associates were represented at the race village promoting health and wellness.
“As one of the largest primary health care facilities in the country, we strive to encourage people to take care of themselves and manage their health,” said Martin Smith, Physician Administrative Assistant at walk-in clinic.
Smith added: “So we are happy to partner with UB to be here to encourage and also promote people to take advantage of all these initiatives. To participate in the fun, to run and walk, in terms of health and fitness, we are here for that.
Melissa Major, senior director of marketing and business development at AML Foods Ltd., expressed similar sentiments.
“AML is very committed to the communities we serve, and when the invitation was extended to us to participate in the event, we were very excited because our community goals and what we do are very much aligned with what UB is trying to accomplish,” Major said.
“So an opportunity to get healthy and impact UB in terms of resources for students, it was impossible to say ‘no’.”
The names of the winners in the different categories will be published online at https://ubfit.ub.edu.bs/.
Funds raised through UBFIT will be used to purchase technology for UB students and to support the Annual Fund for UB’s vital programs and priorities.
Participants cross the finish line at the UBFIT Race Village at UB’s Oakes Field campus.
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Rushout Junkanoo and attendees.
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