Sport and Environment

De Heart Uh Barbados 10k Run & 5k Walk

De Heart uh Barbados® is a place, located in the Central Uplands of Barbados, surrounded by several villages steeped in rich heritage, where one of the Barbados National Park System of Parks and Open Spaces – Natural Heritage Conservation Areas (NHCAs) is also situated.

Natural Heritage Conservation Areas apply to features and locations that are important for conservation, and to the natural and physical heritage of Barbados. The essential goal of this designation is to retain, protect and enhance these features for future generations.

In order to achieve protection of these important ecosystems, the local community must recognise and appreciate that their daily existence and interactions with their surroundings, as one and the same. It is for this reason special attention is placed on developing and organising community activities which foster interaction with the environment. In this vein, the Natural Heritage Department (NHD) or “Project House” as it is known to local residents, hosts heritage celebrations which demonstrate integration of heritage and community, sport and environment and, conservation and sustainable development. The above tenets are management frameworks for conservation of Natural Heritage Conservation Areas.

De Heart uh Barbados is also an event – the Series of Races: A 10K Run and 5K Walk – is an activity which marries sport with environment. The races are held annually in June and allow entrants to compete on courses, which dipped through rolling fields and hills, gullies and caves and escarpments and lush foliage. This year 130 Runners and 359 Walkers experienced the sleeping beauty of the villages and the toughness of the course.

Established in 2003 as part of the greater De Heart uh Barbados Celebrations, which adopted the theme of “a celebration of our community and heritage since 1999,” the series of races have grown tremendously since then. The races are well supported by the local community which welcome and host the athletes who journey to the Central Uplands of Barbados in the early morning to test their endurance and take in the fresh rural scenery. The event is made possible through the efforts of energised volunteers, committed sponsors and this Department’s response to the many suggestions from participants and relatives. It is for this reason that every effort is made to expand the number of prizes and rewarding of effort.

The races have also become a meeting place where participants past and present reflect, socialize, and trade stories about their encounters with the hills of the Central Uplands of Barbados. As organisers the Natural Heritage Department is happy that there are growing numbers of competitors of varying age who take up the challenge of the Run and Walk. We also celebrate those consider themselves shareholders, competing annually since the inception of the races, as such dedication lends credence to the concept of sustainable development. Some competitors have declared that the hills won the 10K Run and retired to the 5K Walk; others have decided to take part periodically; and the remainder vowed never to return!

As a result of the continued support from all our stakeholders, the Natural Heritage Department and Elite Sports are delighted to manage this event, which contributes to distance running and walking in Barbados, and by extension, the concept of sports and environment.

While we are particularly proud of our race course record-holders and repeat winners, both local and abroad; there are still many targets we are hoping to attain. Among these are: a community member winning the 10K Run and attracting participants extra-regionally on a regular basis.

We are certain that with your continued support and many suggestions, our event will reach these targets and set new ones.

The next series of races are planned for 21st June 2014.