Thursday, 15 June 2023 (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown): Caribbean professional and amateur athletes will compete in the Sixteenth CARICOM Road Races scheduled for July in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. A five-kilometre (5K) race will start at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, on Saturday, 1 July, while a 10-kilometre (10K) race will commence from the Convention Centre, Chaguaramas, on Sunday, 2 July.
The Road Races form part of the pre-event activities of the 45th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM scheduled for 3-5 July in Trinidad and Tobago under the chairmanship of Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister, Dominica.
In addition, the activities will mark the momentous occasion of CARICOM’s 50th Anniversary, being celebrated under the theme “50 Years Strong: A Solid Foundation to Build On.”
Athletes participating in the 10K Race will compete for cash prizes, the CARICOM Chairman’s Trophy – Male and the CARICOM Secretary-General’s Trophy – Female.
“The theme Promoting Health Resilience for All aligns with CARICOM’s mandate to promote healthy habits and nutrition to combat the stark increase in persons with non-communicable diseases or NCDs,” stated Dr Laurette Bristol, Programme Manager, Human Resource Development, CARICOM Secretariat. “We are advocating for all participants and supporters to join the call for a healthier Caribbean through active lifestyles and regular exercise”.
In May 2023, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) warned that hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the number one risk factor for illness and premature death from cardiovascular disease and one of the most common NCDs in the Region.
CARPHA highlighted that the non-Latin Caribbean has the greatest mortality rate from cardiovascular disease, estimated at 418 per 100,000 inhabitants. The agency referred to a study that examined 10-year mortality trends in 20 English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries, which found that cardiovascular disease accounted for most deaths, estimated at between 13–25 percent, with Montserrat, Bermuda and Trinidad and Tobago having the highest percentages.
The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has advised that regular exercise and nutritious food are crucial to reducing the surge in NCDs. This message will be a critical component of the Road Races as CARICOM continues its advocacy for better health outcomes for all Caribbean Nationals.
“We hope that the Road Races serve as a beacon that the Region is serious about our people adopting healthier lifestyles,” stated Dr Bristol. “Our advocacy is critical to reducing the prevalence of NCDs in our Region”.