Last Saturday marked the second annual Team Jamaica Bickle races within Baisley Park, in Jamaica, New York. The event was held in conjunction with the Awesome Power Track Club. There were three separate events walk, one mile run, and 5K run. The theme of the festivities was to promote healthy lifestyles.
The turnout about 150 entrants on a delightful Saturday morning was much better than they had last year. And the course took the runners around the pond.
The male and female winners each received a trip to Jamaica, West Indies to compete in the Reggae Marathon as they received an automatic entry on the initial weekend of December and an entry to reside at the Riu Resort Hotel. It is an all expense paid trip for both of them.
The female winner and the journey down south was indeed a thrill for Inelsi Diaz, who is only 18 years of age. She clocked in 18:03.51. The male and overall victor was turned in by Dave Alm, who, however, for the immediate future is concentrating on competing in the upcoming New York City Marathon.
“I don’t have a time goal for the marathon,” Alm said. My marathon training hasn’t been going good. “(During the race) I chased two other runners for the first half of the race (last week), (eventually) caught them, and took over the pace. “We ran on a great course (and had to do it twice around). We ran on a nice and flat course, and I couldn’t ask for better weather.”
The 37-year-old Alm started running when he was in his mid 20s. After he attended college he wanted something healthy to do, competitively.
Lance Fleming, a former runner at Brooklyn’s Bishop Loughlin High School, finished behind Alm, who clocked in 16:47.63 to Fleming’s 17:19.56. Robert Sweeney finished third in 18:02.
In making his debut, Fleming, a one-time runner at York College faced a great runner in Alm. Fleming didn’t have the turnover speed to catch him.
In another event that preceded the feature one was the 5K Fitness Walk whose overall winner belonged to Neville Mitchell, who was timed in 39.41, one place ahead of Carlyle McKetty (40.44) and two ahead of Barrington Campbell (40:45).
Mitchell got in by an invitation to participate in the festivities from Team Jamaica Bickle, and made his initial debut in such a race.
“I worked out and jogged (before competition), but this was my first actual race,” said the Bronx resident. “I’m originally from Jamaica and went to Kingston College High School and (then) Bronx High School of Science. I played soccer in both places. I try to stay in shape and I’m in pretty good shape.”
The 48-year-old Mitchell is an attorney and is currently running for City Council in the Bronx District 12 during a special election.
The female fitness walk went to Michelle Cooper with a time of 41.45, followed by Nonne Andrews (42.23) and Marjorie Waite (42:49).
Meanwhile, the male mile run for the youth was taken by Elan Fox, who was clocked in 5:15, with runner-up position going to Declan Kearns; (5.17) and third place finisher Shah Raiz, who covered the course in 5:54. The female winner was Kuara Summler, who covered the course in 5.32, with Kaylah Quarshire running a second place time of 5.33, and and Maya Dumpson covering the course in 5.34.
When Fox got hold of the lead, he held on to it right away and stayed in first place. Fox, a student at St. Ann’s High School in downtown Brooklyn, where he is on its cross country and track teams, enjoyed running in the event. He enjoyed the way it was organized. He also competes for the Awesome Track Club.
The top three finishers male and female in each of the races received medals and prizes.
As for the organizers, Team Jamaica Bickle was formed 18 years ago as an organization primarily to help and assist athletes from Jamaica, who participate at the Penn Relays.
“Since that time we evolved and have grown,” said Irwine Clare, its founder and CEO of Team Jamaica Bickle. “Not only we have support athletes from Jamaica, but also from Bahamas, Grenada, Trinidad, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Team Jamaica Bickle is an organization that supports track and field.
“We have good athletes right here in the community. There’s no stipulation to say that you have to belong to the organization to participate in the 5K. Many of these athlete have gone on to represent respective nations in the Caribbeans and receive track scholarships to major universities.”
The race committee is happy that they had the support of the community in Jamaica, Queens.