From disappointment to victory – the determination of 2 Grenadian marathon runners

The great poet, Maya Angelou said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Jerry Bascombe and Dennis Mason must have been paying attention because when they discovered that, due to unfortunate circumstances, they were unable to participate in this years TCS New York City Marathon, they took matters into their own hands.

They have organised their own marathon in Grenada to coincide with the race in New York on Sunday, 2 November 2014. They will travel slightly further than the 26.2 mile distance in the US race, along the western coast of the island, from St George’s to Sauteurs. Setting off at 5am from the Grenada National Stadium, they will complete their run at the Petite Anse Hotel.

Since announcing their New York marathon participation a few weeks ago, they have been moved by the overwhelming support from friends, family, work colleagues and strangers. They were determined not to let their well-wishers down and to continue to help raise funds for the charity, reachwithin, which supports vulnerable Grenadian children and their caregivers.

Since announcing their New York marathon participation a few weeks ago, they have been moved by the overwhelming support from friends, family, work colleagues and strangers. They were determined not to let their well-wishers down and to continue to help raise funds for the charity, reachwithin, which supports vulnerable Grenadian children and their caregivers.

Have no fear, we will go to the New York marathon, it will just take a little longer than planned,” said Jerry Bascombe who is Youth Programme Coordinator with reachwithin. “Our charity teaches children how to overcome adversities in their young lives, how to take control of their own destiny even when there are setbacks. I realised that it was up to us to lead by example. When we came up with this idea we were suddenly energised. It is something that we have to do, not just for ourselves but for the children that look up to us and the people that believe in us and support us. We both trained hard for this and so now we can release all that pent up energy, especially young Dennis who is itching to go.”

Dennis Mason, who is a former resident of Father Mallaghan’s Home for Boys, and a mentor with reachwithin, smiles at the thought of the challenge ahead, “In a way, this task is gong to be even tougher than New York. We have the heat to contend with, some steep hills plus traffic but I can’t wait. When I realised that we were no longer going to New York I didn’t know what to do with myself, I was in a state of shock. Now I am excited and the kids in the homes are excited too. This is a life lesson for all of us. It reminds us that life is not always perfect, sometimes there are setbacks but the trick is not to dwell on it but to find a way to turn a negative into a positive.”

Annie Clift, who runs the Petite Anse Hotel with her husband Phillip, is looking forward to welcoming the runners at the end of their arduous journey. She will provide them with food and drink and somewhere to rest. “These clever young men have come up with a brilliant idea. I am totally in awe of them and I admire their determination and commitment. Like them, I care about the welfare of vulnerable children across the island which is why I am grateful for charities like reachwithin, they are much needed.”

For over nine years Annie has been supporting the residents at Father Mallaghan’s Home For Boys. “Along with the Peace Corps, I have been helping the boys to feel like they are a part of the community. We do extra English lessons with them including cooking workshops and trips to key sites across the island. We recognise their birthdays, visit them at Christmas time and remember all their names. We do what we can to make the boys feel loved and wanted.”

Annie is urging businesses across Grenada to get behind Jerry and Dennis’s initiative and to support them either through the fundraising links or by offering water or fruit to assist them in their marathon run. “We should be thanking Jerry, Dennis and the marathon runners in New York for raising funds for reachwithin and for helping to highlight what is a an important cause. I really hope businesses, large and small, step forward and show their support.”

There will be a selection of people at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon raising funds for reachwithin this year including Grenadians, Anderson Simon, Director of the Grenada Child Protection Agency and media professional, Philomena Robertson, who now lives on the British Virgin Islands. The fundraising pages for all the runners can be found at the following link: reachwithin.org/campaign/35

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