Now in its 11th year, the ‘Catch Jerry Chile’ (CJC) Fun-Run-Walk annual fundraiser event, with its dedicated core of organizers, outdid themselves this year. Fundraising efforts, shared CJC committee member, Nurse Bernadette Colebrook on Saturday morning, “looked very promising,” with funds raised during this 2023 event surpassing $12,000, and still more funds coming in – she added. Every penny of which she emphasized, would be going to the Eleuthera Cancer Society – another committed group of civic-minded members, who continue to work together to make a difference in the lives of those battling with cancer.
An energetic group of walkers and runners gathered under the cork tree in the middle of the James’ Cistern township during the early morning hours on Saturday, May 6th, 2023 for the CJC race, which had a start time of 6:30 a.m. sharp. Walkers would pace it to the beginning of the fenced area of the Governor’s Harbour airport before returning to the starting point for a total of about five miles. Runners, looking to catch up with Mr. Miska Clarke (Jerry’s Chile) – who is given a 5 second head-start, each year, ranged from young to older, with the youngest challenger at 13-years-old.
Nurse Colebrook, commenting after the Run-Walk had gotten underway, shared a brief look back at the past 10 years of fundraising efforts and the different beneficiaries, and how now at the beginning of a new decade going forward – the CJC committee had placed their focus where they first started, saying, “This is our 11th year. So, we are kind of starting from the beginning of all of the work that we have been doing, our contributions. So, this year our contributions are going to the Eleuthera Cancer Society. That was our very first project in 2013, so we have come full circle.”
Just last year, in May of 2022, the Health Association of Central Eleuthera (HACE), which operates 3 ambulances for the benefit of the public, was the recipient of approximately $10,000 raised by CJC – a goal chosen to coincide with its 10th anniversary. During the first decade of the group’s efforts, thousands were raised, which assisted clinic repairs in Hatchet Bay, medical equipment was purchased for area clinics – including a ‘life pack’ and portable ventilators, individual support for cancer survivors, a jaws of life purchased and presented to local emergency services, even a pitching cage and machine for the use of area communities, and the list continues.
“The support this year has been tremendous,” said Nurse Colebrook. “As you can see, we had a lot of people turn out this morning. We are looking at 30 walkers, and 7 runners. So, we are very happy with the turn out.” Aside from the registration fees for the participants who took the opportunity early on Saturday morning to wake up their muscles and walk or run for both their health, and the worthy cause, the CJC was able this year to sell nearly 150 CJC branded t-shirts in support of the event, as well as offer sponsorship spots on those t-shirts, which a number of community minded corporate partners generously supported. “We still have our dedicated sponsors,” highlighted Nurse Colebrook. “Our major sponsors are Pineapple Fields, The Daybreak, and JC Discount, whose contributions have been consistent since 2013, and this year we also have The Cove Eleuthera on board as one of our major sponsors also.”
Hotel partners this year, not only supported monetarily, but also got into the full spirit of the healthy lifestyle, community minded CJC, and brought out team members to take part in the morning Run-Walk event.
Unbeaten on the morning, and catching his breath after yet again returning first in the line-up of runners, in a time of 40 minutes plus for the five-mile run, Mr. Miska Clarke, founder and visionary of the event, when asked about how he felt, following the ‘Catch Jerry Chile’ race, said, “This year, it was special. This is the 11th year. We’ve done 10 years, and we feel like we have grown up. We started with the Cancer Society, so, now this year we are starting back with the Cancer Society… I’m not making any excuses – I was supposed to beat my best time, which was 40 minutes and 39 seconds. But I fell short by five seconds. I had promised myself that I would donate an extra one hundred dollars for each second I was off. So, I will definitely do that for this cause this time… We really appreciate our sponsors this year, like The Cove, and Mr. Kemp from The Daybreak, who advertised on the t-shirt sleeves. They were really generous – I just asked them, and they said, yes. I think they appreciate what we do, and we really appreciate them, and all of our supporters and sponsors. I am hoping that we make a real difference for someone. That’s what it’s all about.”
Winners in the 2023 Catch Jerry Chile Fun Run/Walk event, receiving trophies and medals for their efforts were: Runners trophies – Miska Clarke (1st), Christopher Johnson (2nd), and Ashley Sawyer (3rd). A second category of runners who mistakenly used the wrong turnaround marker, a short distance from the actual endpoint – but 1st and 2nd arrived back well ahead of the competition, excluding Miska – so were still recognized with medals. They were: Tom Glucksmann (1st), Sohan Bryan (2nd), and Barbara Dalton (3rd). Walkers trophy winners were: Ross Bethel in 1st, Stephanie McPhee in 2nd and Toni Bethel in 3rd place.