Exuma virtual race raises $12,000 for COVID relief, food, tablets

– The Nassau Guardian

It is often said that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Next month, hundreds of people will not gather at Regatta Park on Exuma for the sixth Annual Exuma Half Marathon, featuring the Run for Pompey. This gathering of runners from all around the world traditionally provides an economic boost to the island and raises funds for an annual scholarship so a bright young Bahamian can attend the University of The Bahamas (UB).

Nevertheless, while the big race on Exuma won’t happen this year due to concerns over COVID-19, the spirit of giving is alive and well. In lieu of a registration fee, participants have been registering online to “run virtually” in their home cities, generating more than $12,000 so far for the Exuma Food Bank and tablets for students.

“Exuma is a special place. Those who have visited before understand that the people are just as beautiful as the island’s world-class beaches and water,” said Peter Nicholson, president of GIV Bahamas Inc., the largest owner at Grand Isle Resort and founder of the Exuma Half Marathon. “We knew a race with big crowds wouldn’t be possible this year, so we decided to hold a virtual race and the response has been fantastic. People from all walks of life, around the world, want to sign up and give back to those in need.”

Last weekend, Member of Parliament for the Exumas and Ragged Island Chester Cooper accepted a check of more than $10,000 for the Exuma Food Bank from Dean Spychalla, owners’ representative at Grand Isle Resort & Spa. Although the event is not until November 21, event organizers were keen to make a donation right away so the funds could be put to use.

Donations will go toward food baskets for hundreds of people on the island, including basic necessities such as flour, rice, water, milk and canned goods.

Another $1,240 donation will allow 10 Exuma students to receive new tablets, with organizers, including race patron Pauline Davis-Thompson, noting the connectivity between a virtual race for a virtual education cause.

Participants can learn more and register their team by visiting the event’s website.

“These are hard times for all Bahamians,” said Cooper whose company, BAF Financial & Insurance, has served as title sponsor of the event since its inception. “It is comforting to know that those that have visited our shores for this event are still thinking of the island. We thank these donors from the bottom of our hearts. These donations will go a very long way to helping Exumians get through this pandemic.”

This year, the virtual race allows runners to suit up in official Run For Pompey T-shirts and participate in the Pompey Dash, a five-mile (eight-kilometer) walk or run in support of the Exuma Food Bank of Leno Learning Link, an official partner of the Ministry of Education to support distance learning by providing a tablet or computer to as many students in The Bahamas as possible.

Runners are encouraged to share their experience on social media and share why they choose to “Run for Pompey”.

The race is named after Pompey, a 32-year-old slave who in 1830 led a rebellion on Exuma to stop the transfer of 77 men, women and children – an act that would have separated families from their loved ones. Pompey’s movement helped stop the transfer order, and today, it is widely seen as a key moment in the Bahamian fight for freedom.

Led by title sponsor BAF Financial & Insurance (Bahamas) Limited, Exuma Half Marathon has also been supported by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Diane Phillips & Associates, Grand Isle Resort & Spa, Sands Beer, Aliv, Caribbean Bottling Company, BahamasLocal.com, Chat N Chill, Ty’s Sunset and Grill and others.

Legendary “Golden Girl” Davis-Thompson has served as the event’s patron from the beginning. In past years, she would visit all the schools on the island to give inspirational speeches, and personally drape commemorative medals around the necks of runners as they cross the finish line.

The event has become an important tradition for the island, and one that event organizers still wanted to commemorate while also doing something positive for the community.

Nicholson added that, although registration fees will go toward the food bank this year, the Exuma Foundation of Canada will still award the usual Pompey Scholarship to a worthy recipient next summer, so yet another young Bahamian will have a chance to attend UB.

“COVID-19 may have driven us more apart physically, but it can also bring us closer together,” he said.

The race, which allows runners from around the world to show their support for Exuma, is set to return to the island itself in a more tangible capacity next year.

Member of Parliament for the Exumas and Ragged Island Chester Cooper, right, accepts a check of $10,800 for the Exuma Food Bank from Dean Spychalla, owners’ representative at Grand Isle Resort & Spa, as funds gathered for the virtual running of the 6th Annual Exuma Half Marathon, featuring the Run for Pompey. Additional proceeds from the virtual race supported by runners from around the world will purchase tablets for Exuma students. This is the sixth year the Run for Pompey will be held and the first time it is a virtual marathon. There’s still time for more registrations, which are converted into donations to the community. ROBERT SANDS/GRAND ISLE


Se original story posted here















BibRave Podcast: Blue Water, White Beaches, and a Marathon

This week is all about the BibRave Bahamas Getaway and the Exuma Marathon! Tim, Jess, and Andy share details of their 7 days at the Grand Isle Resort in Exuma, and all the events they experienced as part of the getaway and the Run for Pompey Marathon. They then dive into their other Exuma adventures and explorations – from petting stingrays, spotting turtles in the wild, and the most amazing rum cake! Listen in for all the details!

Jump to the podcast here:  http://bibrave.libsyn.com/170-bibrave-bahamas-getaway

Exuma Marathon sells out

November 14, 2018

For the first time in its history, the Exuma Marathon was able to announce the two sweetest words for any event in The Bahamas: sold out.

Nearly 250 runners from as far away as Holland and Ireland packed the starting line last Saturday in Exuma, all united in a race that has become a highly anticipated staple in the Bahamian tourism calendar.
Not a single shirt or race number was left over, inspiring last-minute runners to simply jump into the crowd, just to participate.

Young and old, tourist and Bahamian, swift runners and  slow walkers all set off to pay homage to Pompey, the heroic slave who led a rebellion on the island almost 200 years ago.

“This is a special event,” said Doug Flannery, the Senior Director of Operations of the TCS New York City Marathon, who flew in with a group just to experience it.

“It has a distance for every level of fitness that will challenge even the most seasoned athletes.

The community involvement and Exuma hospitality makes this a must-do destination race. It’s a certainty that the event will again sell out in 2019. We are honored to participate alongside the Exuma Marathon team.”

The New York City Marathon typically attracts around 50,000 runners, making it the largest of its kind in the world.

But it is exactly the community integration, cultural relevance and authenticity of Exuma Marathon that makes this event special in the eyes of tourists.

Before the race on Nov 10th, tourists like Flannery took in all the attractions of Exuma, including the now world-famous swimming pigs. image

Hotels, tour boat operators, taxi drivers and restaurants all benefited from the sold-out event.

Once again, Pauline Davis-Thompson, the two-time Bahamian gold medalist, joined the race to drape a medal around each and every neck that crossed the finish line.

“This is the only event I’ve been involved with where you get to dance at the finish, receive your medal from an Olympic gold medalist and enjoy the warmth of the Bahamian spirit at every turn,” said Lacie Flannery, Event Director at the Advocate health Care International Chicago 5K Race. “Add that to the bluest shades of ocean you’ve ever seen as a backdrop and you have an event that is truly paradise.”

Exuma Marathon features races for all ages, with the most impressive being the Run for Pompey, a grueling 50K race.

This year, in striking solidarity, Michelle Gibson and Shavaughn Blades, from Nassau, crossed the finish line together with a time of 6:39:47. Elaine McAunulty, from Ireland, won the full marathon with a time of 5:55:14. image

Other races included a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and 2K “George Town Dash”, making the event accessible for young children and older participants.

At its core, Exuma Marathon focuses on community engagement and offering an integral, cultural experience for all.

Last Saturday was the 4th installment.  Exuma Marathon is completely non-profit, with proceeds from the race going towards the annual Pompey Scholarship, awarded to a student in Exuma each year so he or she can attend college or university. Most recently, Deyonte Ferguson from L N Coakley took home the prize, and she is now attending Holland College in Prince Edward Island in the east coast of Canada.

“There is no doubt that this was our best year yet,” said Kevin Taylor, who founded the race with Jeff Todd, the Director of Communications for GIV Bahamas Inc.

“I think the sky is the limit for Exuma Marathon. It is a comimagemunity effort in every sense of the word, from our volunteers, to the nurses at the hospital, the police officers and countless others that help us put it together.”

The race is supported by its four-time title sponsor BAF Financial & Insurance.

Other sponsors include GIV Bahamas Inc., the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Aliv, Sands Beer, Caribbean Bottling Company, Grand Isle Resort, Peace & Plenty, The Swimming Pig, Catch A Fire, Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill, Glinton, Sweeting O’Brien, BahamasLocal, Breezes, Cash N Go and Diane Phillips and Associates.

Exuma Marathon also partnered with the Bahamas Half, presented by Bahamas Roadmasters, which kicks off from Arawak Cay in Nassau on November 18th at 6am.

The next Exuma Marathon is scheduled for November 9th, 2019.

‘Stunned’ Rolle receives Pompey Scholarship

Third time’s a charm as Run for Pompey – October 6 to October 8 –  welcomes a new sponsor and partnership with National Family Island Regatta

A senior at L N Coakley High School in Exuma became the second recipient of The Pompey Scholarship this week, with ambitious plans to study in Canada this fall and return to Exuma as a primary school educator.

Demi Rolle, whose favourite subjects include English and history, will join her friend Troyann Forbes, the first winner of this scholarship, at Acadia University on the Canadian east coast.

“I was really just stunned. Me? Really? When they called my name, I couldn’t believe it. It was really exciting,” Rolle said, who picked up her over-sized cheque at L N Coakley’s graduation ceremony, held at Sandals Emerald Bay last Tuesday.


From left: Chester Cooper, MP of Exuma and Ragged Island and President of BAF Financial & Insurance (Bahamas) Limited, Demi Rolle, the winner of The Pompey Scholarship and Lynmore Taylor from GIV Bahamas Inc.


“I plan to come back home [to Exuma],  but I want to get that experience abroad as well and then perhaps open up my own pre-school when I return. I heard it is very nice in Canada and I have friends over there.”


Rolle’s big win is the end result of last year’s Run for Pompey, the second installment in an annual event that is rapidly becoming a fixture on the sports tourism calendar.

As the old saying goes, the third time’s a charm. The next Run for Pompey, taking place over National Heroes Day Weekend from October 6 to October 8 in Exuma, promises to be largest yet, featuring a new collaboration with the National Family Island Regatta. On October 7, or race day, runners from The Bahamas and abroad will be treated to a festival atmosphere in the park with a full bar, food stalls, Bahamians entertainment and a “mini-regatta” in Elizabeth Harbour.

1-IMG_0673Run for Pompey is also thrilled to announce a new sponsor of the event. Aliv, the emerging telecommunications company, will become a valued supporter.

The event is led by title sponsor BAF Financial & Insurance (Bahamas) Limited and MRI Nassau.

GIV Bahamas Inc., the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Grand Isle Resort, Sands Beer, Caribbean and Bottling Company, Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill, Catch A Fire, Chat N’ Chill, BahamasLocal.com, SuperClubs Breezes and Diane Phillips & Associates round out Run for Pompey’s strong network of sponsors.

Legendary “Golden Girl” Pauline Davis-Thompson will serve as Run for Pompey’s patron for the third consecutive time, draping medals around each and every neck at the finish line. She also provides a special keynote address at Grand Isle’s pasta night for runners the night before the race.

“The level of support for this event has been outstanding,” said Jeff Todd, Director of Communications at GIV Bahamas Inc., who founded the race with Kevin Taylor, the owner of DreamKatcher Media. “With the race as its centerpiece, Pompey is growing into a weekend-long celebration of Bahamian history and culture. The fact it takes place on National Heroes Day Weekend only makes Run for Pompey more poignant. Registration is already very strong and we expect a huge turnout in our third year.”

In 1830, Pompey, a 32-year-old slave, defied a transfer order on Exuma that would have separated 77 men, women and children from their families. While his rebellion was eventually squashed, it is widely seen as a key moment in the Bahamian fight for freedom.

To commemorate his memory, Run for Pompey features races for all ages, skill levels and abilities, including the 2K “George Town Dash”, 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon and the country’s first and only 50K ultra marathon. All races are professionally timed. Past events have attracted hundreds of runners from various countries, including Canada, the United States, the UK and The Bahamas.

Don Barr, the principal of L N Coakley High School, believes the history of Pompey is an essential ingredient in the event and the educational process.

1-IMG_0779“From the historical aspect of it, students know of Pompey, and the fact there is a whole committee and event surrounding it all, that in itself deserves praise,” he explained. “These scholarships means a lot to us. I believe it will inspire more students to do the same thing and follow in Demi’s footsteps.”

With two Pompey Scholarship winners now at Acadia University, the approach appears to be working, as students from Exuma continue to write their own page in the Pompey history books.

The donation will be paid directly to Acadia University on Rolle’s behalf by the Exuma Foundation of Canada.

To learn more about the Run for Pompey and sign up for the 2017 event, you can visit its website at https://runforpompey.com/


THE TRIBUNE |  Wedesday. August 3. 2016 |  PAGE 7

GOING into its second year, more participants a r e expected to hit the roads for Run for Pompey in October in Exuma, a n event which celebrates Bahamian his- tory,cultureandsport,ac- cording to organisers a n d tourism officials yesterday.

More than 2 0 0 people from several countries took part in the inaugural Run forPompeylastyearand officials believe this year’s event, set for October 7 for 9 and expected to add at least 6 0 0 room nights during Exuma’s typically slow period, will draw even more. BAF Financial & In- surance L t d will again b e the title sponsor.

Run for Pompey sees runners compete in six distance races – 2km ‘Georgetown Dash’, 5km, 10k half marathon, marathon and the gruelling ultra marathon (50km), the only one in The Bahamas –  to raise money for a scholarship for Exuma’s best and brightest students.

The racers run in the footsteps if Pompey, the slave who risked his life to sail to New Providence to convince the Governor of The Bahamas not to allow the splitting up of slave families with whom he lived with. In 1830, the then 32-year- old Pompey led a rebellion against h is British plantation owner. Lord John Rolle, who had declared that Pompey and 76 other slaves would be moved from Exuma to Cat Island. Local historians have said that Pompey’s rebellion marked the birth o f th e “freedom fight” that concluded with the emancipation o f local slaves in 1838.

Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Chester Cooper, the president of BAF and Pauline Davis-Thompson, The Bahamas’ Olympic gold medal winner descended from Exuma, attended the launch.

Mr. Cooper said of Pompey that he “symbolises the spirit of fighting for what you believe in.” All proceeds from the event are channeled into an educational scholarship for your Exumians, which last year send one young lady to Acadia University in Canada.

The Ministry o f Tourism also believes that this event can be a boon for the economy o f Exuma. “Pompey is one of our first national heroes, so it’s appropriate that this Run will be held on National Heroes Day,” Mr Thompson said. “Run for Pompey has all the elements of a tourism winner, opportunities to bring visitors and locals together for a weekend of activities that brings focus to Exuma’s unique history and stunning beauty.”

The Run for Pompey luring guests to Exuma in October also coincides with the Ministry’s “Bahamas Love” calendar, a year of romance with a different focus each month, noted Mr Thompson.

• For details and registration visit www.runforpompey.com


2016.08.03 - Tribune, Run for Pompey Event Expected to Have Bigger Turnout