Sat | Sep 23, 2023

Distance carnival at JC tomorrow

Published:Friday | February 17, 2023 | 12:28 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Coach Duane Johnson (right) and his star middle distance athlete from last year J’Voughnn Blake.

Middle and long-distance running will be in the spotlight at Jamaica College (JC) tomorrow as a new athletics meeting makes its debut. According to JC’s Duane Johnson, the Fervet Distance Carnival is designed to generate interest in running events longer than 400 metres.

This concept was born at the Sprint Fest, held at the school’s Ashenheim Stadium in January.

“Why not try and do a meet that focuses on distance events primarily to encourage our middle- and long-distance athletes and coaches, and to get some more interest in those events,” recalled Johnson, who is the middle/long-distance running coach at JC.

With approvals quickly received at JC, by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, the meet is set to begin at 3:30 p.m.

“We have 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and we had a distance medley on there, but that event had just one entry, Jamaica College. So we might not run that event, but those are the events we have this year,” Johnson said.

The entry list includes Kingston College, St Jago High School, Alphansus Davis High School and the host, school Jamaica College.

The organisers might as well add relays in the future.

“Maybe next time. I think what happened is that because of how this all came together, I think that most schools would have already made their plans, but now that it will be on the calendar going forward, then the hope is that over the years the event will grow,” said Johnson.

Senior athletes will be able to earn world-ranking points because the new meet has been placed on the World Athletics Global Calendar.

The new meet comes at a time when there are positive signs for Jamaica in the men’s 800 metres. Last week, Navasky Anderson lowered Alex Morgan’s national indoor record from 1.46.70 seconds to 1.46.58, with notable times of 1.47.04, 1.47.89, 1.48.64 by Kimar Farquharson, Tarees Rhoden and Dugion Blackman in the past 10 days.

Johnson is delighted. “I’m very very happy. I’m feeling good about the prospects of what is to come at the senior level,” he anticipated.


His enthusiasm comes from a series seen in the Class One 800m at Boys’ and Girls’ Championships where a significant barrier was surpassed in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

“It’s probably the first in history that we’ve had three Champs back-to-back where Class One 800 boys dipping under 1.50. So I’m really excited about that,” he said, recounting the deeds of Farquharson in 2019, Chevonne Hall in 2021 and his own protege J’Voughnn Blake last year.

Farquharson, 1.48.67, Tyrice Taylor 1.48.91 and Rhoden 1.49.02 broke the barrier in 2019, with Hall, 1.48.58, Rivaldo Marshall and Blake both at 1.48.86 in 2021 and Blake and his then JC teammate Handal Roban of St Vincent and the Grenadines at 1.48.58 and 1.48.72 respectively last year.