By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
While nothing was done on Tortola to commemorate the BVI Athletics Association’s 50th anniversary, marking the anniversary of track and field and road racing governing body which was formed on September 19, 1970, 25 runners and walkers on Virgin Gorda marked the milestone with the Round de Valley Run.
“When we found out it was the 50th anniversary, we were hoping to see something somewhere but we didn’t,” Gloria George-Fahie told Island Sun Sports. “As you know, road runners haven’t been doing anything for a few years so we decided that would be a good time to make our little comeback and that’s what we did.”
George-Fahie said the turnout of 25 participants was good considering the COVID-19 times where there has been several lockdowns and curfew adjustments and persons hadn’t been training nor competing. The race began at the HLSCC Virgin Gorda Center and meandered to LSL Bakeshop turning left and went over Crab Hill, over to Speedys Corner and back to HLSCC. George-Fahie said they had several of the persons that typically participate in the College Classic Series and Curwin Andrews emerged the overall winner and Kasean Wyllie—younger brother of many times College Classic Series champion Maxford Pipe, placing second. Veteran Emrol Amsterdam was the top participant in his division.
“We also had a few kids from the schools, teachers, folks who exercise and they decided to participate as well as older folks from the community,” George-Fahie noted. “it was really a nice turnout, a mixture of men, women, the young, old and in between, that’s what we had.”
The initiative George-Fahie said, has spurred interest in rekindling road racing on Virgin Gorda and they will contact the BVI Athletics Association General Secretary to get back into road racing. Their plans she said is to have monthly races leading up to a Half Marathon in December. The plan is to use one route for walkers and another for runners. She said there has been discussions with Andrews and Amsterdam about the Half Marathon and they will be mapping out the course that was previously used with a tour from the Valley, out to Nail Bay and over to Coppermine.
“We’re going to play with it a bit and see how best we can do it and get the correct course measurement, to make it the Half Marathon,” George-Fahie said, noting that participants on Saturday were grateful for the event and. “They’re hoping that we don’t come and do just that one race then stop. We informed them that we’re going to have a series leading up to December. Other individuals who were not there but saw us out have contacted us because our numbers were on the flyer and they’re interested so, we’re back. We’re going to take advantage of it (weekend race) and keep running.”
Currently, they’re looking at having another race over the St. Ursula’s Day Holiday weekend and another in November, but that date is yet to be decided.
Hubert Payne was elected the BVI Athletics Association’s first president, when the organization was formed on September 17, 1970. In November 1970, founding member Rey O’Neal was elected president and served through 1973 and again 1978-2003, becoming the association’s longest serving president.