The Mourant College Classic Series that began in October, 1996, will swing back into action on Saturday at the HLSCC campus in Paraquita Bay, after the 2017 season was wiped out by Hurricane Irma. Over the years, the race has grown from 19 persons when it started to averaging well over 200 participants
By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
It’s back. Interrupted by Hurricane Irma last year where only a symbolic race was held in November with 20 participants after Irma ravaged the territory, the Mourant College Classic Series will kick off its 23rd season on Saturday at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Paraquita Bay.
Registration for the 7 a.m. race—the first of four on Tortola—will begin at 6:30.
As the territory continues its recovery from Irma, race director Stephanie Russ Penn said she’s excited about seeing a complete series of races, as they aim to get back to the norm. In addition to the four races scheduled for Tortola, there will be three on Virgin Gorda, with all the age categories, including the One Mile for Under 9 Division and the 2 Miles option for individuals and teams.
“I’m not anticipating a huge crowd on Saturday, given that schools are resuming next week. A lot of times, it’s a bit difficult for schools to pull teams together when they are not fully into school as yet and that’s specifically for the Tortola race,” Russ Penn said. “I’m hoping that after the Tortola race, there will be enough energy going over to Virgin Gorda, that the start there would be good.”
Russ Penn added: “I’m looking forward to seeing all the people, all the groups and having that community movement going again because it is something that the community looks forward to. I’m thankful that I can be a part of to help make it the community event that it is.”
The race director said that they’re certainly thankful for the sponsorship from Mourant, who has taken the races and are willing to run with it and they’re really grateful for that partnership.
“One very special add to the races this year is that we’re going green,” Russ Penn pointed out. “We’re not going to be using plastic water bottles, so we’re encouraging everybody to bring a water bottle. Anything we have on site is going to be reusable. If we have cups, they will be reusable and we’re asking participants not to put them in the garbage, but more so, bring your water bottles so we can fill it, because we’re going absolutely green this year with the series.”
Over the last several years, the series has been used to partner with different community groups regarding different health causes. Russ Penn said while none is on the cards as yet, she said typically as the series progress, it makes sense along the way to partner with someone who’s having an event.
“In Virgin Gorda in particular, that has been a more popular routing where we have done races with the Cancer Society or the Diabetics Association and similarly, that may also happen on Tortola,” she noted. “There is the potential that we may have the race for a cause, specifically for HLSCC or in conjunction with someone, but that hasn’t been fully confirmed. As time progresses and things evolve, that will be doable.”
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