Sagicor's Zacca lauds teamwork after Caribbean's largest road race raises record $91m
Christopher Zacca, president and chief executive officer of Sagicor Group, says the 25th staging of the Sagicor Sigma Legacy Run was a huge success for its beneficiaries as the largest road race in the Caribbean raised a record-breaking $91.8 million on Sunday.
The paediatric unit at The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) were the beneficiaries.
The event returned to a full in-person run for the first time in two years after restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a multiple World and Olympic champion, and Asafa Powell, a former 100-metre record holder, were the event's patrons.
"Well, it is the 25th anniversary so it is a historic day, and we have raised the most money for our beneficiaries, some $91,852,500, as the previous was $53 million. It was way above expectations, and it really says that Jamaica has really come together. We are very happy, and I am very proud of my team at Sagicor," Zacca told the Jamaica Observer.
"It is the first time in over three years that we have over 20,000 people in the race. This means that our beneficiaries, UHWI Paediatric Unit and the EMCVPA, are going to be even happier, in terms of what we are going to do for them this year. It was just amazing as everybody realised that they were giving back to charities that needed the money; this is what the Sagicor Sigma Legacy Run does for Jamaica," Zacca added.
Dorrett Campbell, interim principal of the EMCVPA, said that proceeds from the event will go a long way in rebuilding the Hope Brooks Painting Studio, which was damaged by fire back in 2021.
"This means that we will get some money from that $91 million somewhere to rebuild a better Hope Brooks Paint Studio. We lost that studio in October 2021, and we have not been able to raise or harness enough support to be able to build it back.
"What that means is that we had to limit the number of students we take in for painting, and painting is one of our very well-subscribed programmes," Campbell said.
Roxanne Melbourne-Chambers, a paediatrician at UHWI, said the hospital will also use its proceeds for construction.
"So the proceeds from the Sigma Legacy Run this year for UHWI mean a lot to the child health department because it is our plan that this money will seed a building fund. We need a new paediatric building, which will cost a lot of money, but this money will seed the building fund, and I think just the publicity and sensitisation of the public from this event will bring on more corporate sponsors so that we can meet that goal of a new building," she said.
Garfield Gordon, representing UCT Steppas, and Jozanne Harris, representing Jamdammers, were comfortable winners in the Open Run event.
Gordon, with a time of 17:32 minutes, took the race ahead of Noel-Jonathan Ellis (Jamaica Civil Aviation – 18:05) and Kemar Leslie (Rainforest Seafood – 18:17). Gordon also won the corporate run with a time of 17:17.
"Well I started out hard, trying to stay with the pace to give myself plenty of changes. When I reached the 5k marker, I made my move, and when I reached Oxford Road, I just began to sprint, and I ended up as the winner. It is a great feeling. It feels so good to come out on the road again since COVID and dominate," Gordon said.
Harris won her race in a time of 23:20, comfortably ahead of Michelle McNally (Relmac Construction – 25:31) and Pauline Murphy (Digicel Jamaica Limited – 25:51). Murphy was the overall winner in the corporate run with a time of 25:43.
"I am very happy to have competed at this Legacy Run here, and I am happy for what Sigma is doing in supporting and uplifting the nation. I am winning this for the third consecutive time and I feel so honoured to have done it, and thank God I am still healthy and still able to run," Harris said.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) were the champions for the corporate male and female teams.