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Young athletes shine at CN’s 5K Steps for Hope

Seventeen-year-old Omare Thompson won the first Steps for Hope 5K of The Catholic News surpassing a field of more than 400 competitors in a time of 16:04.

The racecourse took runners from the Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS) course with Hayes Street and Serpentine Road added and the finish line back at the QPS.

Thompson, a student of the Diego Martin North Secondary school and member of the One A Week Multi Sports Club, prepared for the race with speed work and doing “plenty mileage”. He added that his race training was “right here in Queen’s Park Savannah”.

How did he feel about beating a field of adult competitors? He smiled and said: “It felt good, it wasn’t really hard at all”.

The teen is progressing steadily gaining race experience. He placed third in the 3000 metres at the North American Central American and Caribbean Athletic Associations U18 Championships at Estadio Nacional–La Sabana, San José, Costa Rica on July 21, 2023. He was third in the 5000 metres at the CARIFTA Games, Kirani James Athletic Stadium, St George’s, Grenada, April 1 and placed eight in the 1500 March 30.

Thompson said crossing the finish at CN’s 5K was a great feeling knowing he “ran hard”.

As an athlete who has raced in the 800 metres, 1500, 3000 and 5000 metres, what is his preferred distance? He said, “I like the speed so like 800 and 1500, but I am loving the 5Ks now…because my endurance getting better, and I have the speed with it so, it not feeling as hard as an 800.” For him, the 5K was not as difficult “as somebody who is now starting but it is still a little challenging.”

Female winner overall teen Aniquh Bailey, 16 years, disclosed that she had something to prove in competing. She was proud to have accomplished being the top placed female of the 248 runners knowing in her heart she gave her best. She finished the race in 21:26.

Bailey also sought to dispel negative perceptions about how she would perform. “How small I look, and people will think that I am not as fast as I look”. She has been running for seven years.

David Schweitzer, 26 years, was the top male in the 20-29 category. He was pleased with his results with a finish of 17:28 and fourth overall. An

experienced runner, he commented on the CN 5K: “It was nice. Today is preparation because tomorrow is another race, a 15K so it is a big day today. It is a big practice,” Schweitzer competed the next day in the Eastern Credit Union 15K road race and placed fifth overall.