The Chatoyer Endurance 10K Challenge
When Team Athletics SVG sought, four years ago, to re-introduce the Chatoyer Endurance 10K, it was welcomed among those who follow and understand sports.
Staged during the month of November, the 10K lives up to its name, as it is truly one of endurance.
The hilly terrain of the route, from Gordon Yard to the Chateaubelair Playing Field, located on the north western side of the mainland, is the perfect setting for the 10K.
Dubbed the World’s Most Challenging 10K, also provided that hype and appeal to prospective non-Vincentian athletes and is indeed the perfect selling tag-line.
Additionally, the host organisation exerted greater effort in wooing overseas athletes, hence, marketing the event as an international one, and has upped the ante all round.
Among the critical improvements, has been an increase in the prize monies.
This is partly as a result of the input of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC).
As a consequence, the Chatoyer Endurance 10K has become a calendar event of NACAC.
Too, the 10K has had the blessings of the Association of National Olympic Committees of the Eastern Caribbean States (ANOCES), augmenting its profile.
But from the outside, after the four years of acclaim as an international 10K, there has not been any real semblance of that status.
The event, thus, has seemingly become a challenge for Team Athletics SVG.
Whilst not aware of all the intricacies involved in the promotion of the annual event, one would hazard a guess that more has to be done by way of marketing of the World’s Most Challenging 10K.
The tagline alone is not cutting it, as more has to be done on all fronts to have the 10K become part and parcel of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ yearly sporting activities.
Whilst a 10K is not a novelty, then other attractions must be seen as pull factors to increase the number of overseas competitors.
Yes, there has been some regional responses over the years, namely, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St Lucia, Jamaica, Cuba, Martinique, Barbados, Dominica and Guyana.
This type of participation has not been sustained and the true international flavour has not always been forthcoming.
But, it is still a work in progress, therefore organisers and host Team Athletics SVG, should not relent on its efforts to get the international participation up.
Critically though, the Chatoyer Endurance 10K should not be seen as a Team Athletics SVG undertaking, as the entire St Vincent and the Grenadines can benefit from an influx of overseas participation.
Ideally, the 10K takes place during the month of November, the same period which St Vincent and the Grenadines celebrates “Tourism Month”.
Should the SVG Tourism Authority, along with the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture and other government agencies, as a part of their mandate help promote and market the “World’s Most Challenging 10K”?
The event fits snuggly into the framework of the ministry, as the 10K encompasses aspects of tourism, sport and indeed St Vincent and the Grenadines’ culture.
The idyllic backdrop of the course, with the Caribbean Sea and the mountains on either side, provides that type of setting many are longing for.
But are we up to this type of aggressive marketing of our sporting events?
Surely too, Team Athletics must accept that its efforts are insufficient and has to be bolstered.
Whether or not this type of governmental support would be forthcoming is another matter.
This column has always been an advocate and will continue to advance the cause of having tourism-driven sporting events.
And, the Chatoyer Endurance 10K is one such activity that must be seen as one which fits the bill.
In order to do this, more must be done, as the 10K has to be a national undertaking, once the stakeholders are on the same page.
It would be painful if for lack of collaboration and effort that the Chatoyer Endurance 10K fades into oblivion.