Freeport, Bahamas – The Beacon School is the reigning champion of the Dog Days Half Marathon School Challenge. The students won the challenge last year, with sponsorship support from Freeport Ship Services and MSC Freeport (Bahamas). The school entered 20 students last year and also won a cash prize of $500 for earning the most points during the marathon, each mile accrued by the athletes earned the school one point. 

There are presently 108 students enrolled at the Beacon School, which is Grand Bahama’s special needs education centre.  This year the school’s Special Olympic Athletes will represent the school in the Dog Days Half Marathon. The school is also excited to note that four of their athletes are members of the team travelling to Abu Dhabi to represent The Bahamas in the 2019 Special Olympics World Games this month.

Beacon School Principal, Titi McKenzie-Moss, wants the community to understand how important events like Dog Days are for special needs athletes. “Our athletes may have special needs but they are still athletes,” said Moss. “They require exercise and training just like other athletes. Events like Dog Days give special needs athletes great exposure and the opportunity to train, and makes the community aware of our special needs population”.

Fifty students, ranging from ages 8 to 18, 10 teachers and aides, have all been sponsored by MSC Freeport (Bahamas). The company committed to sponsoring anyone who wanted to join after witnessing the pure joy on the children’s faces as they were crossing the finish line last year. “We get asked to give a lot in our business,” said an MSC representative. “Watching these kids run and challenge each other and seeing the pure joy they had in joining in this race – was a huge staff morale booster. Our boss was adamant to make sure we sponsored them all this year!”

Event Directors of the 2019 Grand Bahama Dog Days Half Marathon are making an appeal to businesses to sponsor school teams that are interested in competing in the marathon’s “School Challenge” on Saturday March 23rd in Freeport.  Dog Days Co-Director Nikki Waugh, highlights the benefits of a marathon experience for student athletes. “We encourage companies to sponsor schools and give students the opportunity to run a competitive, professional race,” said Waugh. “All races, the half marathon, 10k, 5k, and the one-mile fun run, are time chipped, with water stations throughout the courses and marshals directing the way.”  

The entry fee for students in the one mile fun/run walk is $10 for children 10 years and under, $20 for the 5K and 10K, and $35 for the Half Marathon. The fee includes the time chipped bib, race day medal and commemorative race day UPF sun t-shirt, celebrating the Grand Bahama Dog Days Half Marathon’s 5th Anniversary.

A new incentive for student registries has been added this year. All schools will now have an opportunity to win prizes in all race categories, including cash prizes of $250, $500, and $1000 in the Half Marathon. To qualify, schools need to speak directly to organizers Nikki Waugh or Siobhan Antoni-Bates via their Facebook or website, www.grandbahamadogdayshalfmarathon.com.

“Seeing the smiles and joy on the children’s faces last year was priceless”, said Siobhan Antoni-Bates, Dog Day Marathon Co-Director. “Sometimes we underestimate the power of charity and what it can mean to others who have never participated in events like ours.”

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