On Target
November 25, 2016
Bettering the best efforts

St Vincent and the Grenadines, through the local governing body for Track and Field – Team Athletics SVG, is moving towards developing an event which can be called its own – the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) Chatoyer Endurance 10K.{{more}}

Although not entirely new on the sporting calendar, having been held many years ago, before making a return last year with a different route, all the same, the race’s focus is on the challenge of the terrain.

Dubbed, “The World’s Most Challenging 10K”, the race took place last Sunday from Gordon Yard to the Chateaubelair Playing Field.

Mainly consisting of hills, this route has proven to somewhat live up to its billing of being both challenging and one of endurance.

Last year’s race, despite having its date reset and route changed from Chauncey to Fort Charlotte to the current one, attracted participation from Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Kenya, Martinique and Cuba.

Within the space of a year, such attraction has dwindled to two countries – St Lucia and Dominica.

Why this is so should be the searching inquisition, as the “international” intent was not achieved this time around.

Such a question is augmented and compounded by the fact that it is a NACAC sponsored race; hence, one would have anticipated greater participation from members of the regions which comprise the NACAC set-up.

But attracting top quality athletes for this sort of course will take some doing; simply putting an advertisement out there does not guarantee that persons would immediately sign up and get here.

It does not work that way, as the prize monies on offer, ease of travel, and competing events which are time tabled at the same time or in close timing with the Chatoyer 10K, can work against St Vincent and the Grenadines’ effort.

But we have to get a few things right and near perfect from the get-go, as while one accepts that the race is in its embryonic stage, reaching out and ensuring the Chatoyer Endurance 10K becomes an anticipated happening is of vital significance.

Therefore, in going forward, the race must be marketed as an event, not simply another 10K. This was not the case last Sunday, as our organizers fell short of the mark.

As administrators, are the members of Team Athletics SVG contented with the fact that there is ready done financing from the regional organization, therefore things are on a platter, hence is there no need for more marketing of the event?

Therefore, in order to make good, better and better, best, the pre-event organization, the creation of a buzz, the execution, the trappings and the overall administration should be reflective of the status that the Chatoyer Endurance 10K is aiming at, that is, an international event.

A lasting experience by those who come in as overseas competitors for the 10K should be a catalyst and selling point for potential participants.

It must be also the task of the organizers to take a re-look at going after a niche of runners whose forte is that type of challenge, rather than the pure distance athletes who are more adept at staying in line with traditional races.

Surely, with some effort, such adventure type runners can be tapped in and wooed here for the race-event.

In unison with the local tourism authorities, this could be an avenue that can be explored in order to add credence to the Chatoyer Endurance 10K.

Also, it may be necessary for the organizers and planners to add other events, with the 10K being the main attraction.

A Chatoyer series, inclusive of a 5k, a walk race, held over a weekend, in similar vein as the Run Barbados Series, is some food for thought for those who are placed in position of the decision making.

Morphing the series to coincide with national Independence celebrations in October, is one route which can be evaluated and its plausibility researched and reviewed.

But Team Athletics SVG cannot do it alone, as St Vincent and the Grenadines tries to put a presence on hosting an event with a sports tourism reach.

Sustaining the Chatoyer Endurance 10K is a task for other stakeholders as well, and in doing so will broaden the scope for development and better marketing and promotion.

Efforts were made by the same Team Athletics SVG to sell the Round D Town Road Relay as a regional/international event.

This was quickly stashed away and a return to an all local four-leg relay is once more in place.

With some more tenacity, partnerships with corporate support and creative energies in action, the Chatoyer Endurance 10K can be truly an event worthy of being called “international”.