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Mar 22, 2016

Team Belize Wins in Las Vegas Relay

A team from the three arms of the security forces returned to Belize today to a warm welcome. A motorcade through the streets of the Old Capital culminated on Coney Drive for the Belize Protectors. The thirty plus officers from the B.D.F., Police Department and Coastguard participated for the first time in the annual Challenge Cup/Baker to Vegas Relay. The results are astounding: they clinched one category and ranked in the top ten overall. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The triumphant return of the Belize Protectors to much acclaim from civilian admirers and supporters from various branches of local law enforcement, culminated with a celebration of the team’s achievement in the United States.  Its debut in the annual Challenge Cup/Baker to Vegas Relay was, in one word, stellar.  Team Belize, after just a few months of preparation, has made an impression on organizers and seasoned participants of the event.

 

Loretta Garbutt

Loretta Garbutt, Runner, Gang Suppression Unit

“The experience was awesome.  It was nothing that we expected, you know, from what people say it would be, hot days and cold nights.  I ran leg six which was in the day time, I started about minutes to four and it was six miles.  To me, the weather wasn’t that hot for me.  The  only thing was the dry air, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  But apart from that it was nothing.”

 

Child’s play, to say the least.  For coach Ian Gray, the team’s success is the result of hard work and rigorous training.

 

Ian Gray

Ian Gray, Coach, Belize National Team, B2V

“They performed well from day one, they worked hard.  We all had a positive attitude from the start, we all pushed hard.  We finished sixth overall, first in the [mixed] category and with the fifteenth fastest time in the history of the event.”

 

Not bad for a group of dedicated athletes that invested time and effort, sacrificing everything to put the Jewel on the map.  Leading that charge from the start of the two-day competition was Ernesto Villafranco.

 

Ernesto Villafranco

Ernesto Villafranco, Runner, B.D.F. Special Force

“As the first runner, a little pressure was on me because I needed to get the first lead of the race and we started with forty runners and when the gun went off I ran and I didn’t look back.  And when the last mile was out and I looked back nobody was in sight but every two to three minutes we had to drink water because it was very hot and I just had one thing in my mind, to get the lead so my team can do well.  And I am proud of my team because when I got that lead they continued to open the lead, they didn’t close the lead.”

 

While Villafranco was the first to hit the ground running, his teammate, coastguard seaman Rondre Lewis, was the finisher.  His sole duty along the hundred and twenty mile course was to bring the Protectors home.

 

Rondre Lewis

Rondre Lewis, Runner, BNCG

“They had me in the last leg, Stage Twenty, and my task was to finish, the finisher.  They call me the Assassinator, you know. When Stage Nineteen passed the baton to me I already knew it was show time so I went out hard and I left everything on the road, all.  I gave my all.  I tracked down a couple vehicles, couple people, everybody and I went straight to the finish and when I arrived inside the stadium everybody was surprised because we already came in.  Because, Team Belize, our number was two hundred and fifty-nine and we already reached inside the stadium before people that were participating a couple of years now, so everyone was excited for Belize and wondering what we did, how we did it?  They were even wondering what we’re eating, what they’re giving us and all those types of things.”

 

A strict diet and absolutely no performance enhancers.  Our men and women of the armed forces ran a clean race and despite not placing first overall, accomplished a remarkable feat.

 

David Jones

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Captain, Belize National Team, B2V

“With the results that we achieved I must say I am very proud of the runners.  I am proud of the committee that was formed and proud of the achievements that they got.  This was a very challenging race.  We weren’t sure of exactly everything that we were going to face, we were aware that the desert was hot.  We were aware that it was very cold in the night but it was new for these guys because it is not something that they were trained for and they just had to go into it.  They had training for about three or four months before we went in there but unless you have prior experience you would do your ultimate best.  But not knowing what we were going into and achieving what we did, I must say it was an outstanding result for these guys.  I am very proud of the security forces of Belize: the B.D.F., the coastguard and the police working together as a unit and it proves that if you are united in your efforts you can achieve great results.”

 

Reporting for news five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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