Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis was awarded the National Honour Officer of the Order of Disctinction, in recognition of his contribution to altering the fitness and healthy lifestyle practice landscape in Jamaica on Heroes Day, Monday, October 20. Through his continued efforts of managing road races across the island, Francis has organized several road race events in aid of charitable causes, from generating funds to purchase equipment for varied Hospital Units to providing scholarship awards for tertiary students. Francis, as the Running Events Limited race director, has successfully managed to shift the paradigm of professionalism in road race events’ management.
Following the official reception of the National Honour for continued contribution to the sporting development of Jamaica, the CB Group UWI 5K scheduled for Sunday, November 16 will also be held in honour of Francis in this its 3rd staging. Francis was a key part of establishing the 5K which has since provided 40 academic and sporting scholarships to tertiary students at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
“I do feel proud to be recognized for the hard work but it has never been about seeking recognition. This is like a bonus for me; the real goal is to get persons to enhance their quality of life and longevity. We spend so much of our time sedentary, working hard to accumulate wealth and we do not give back that effort to ensure we are around to enjoy that wealth. So our mandate has always been to encourage healthy, active living through exercise and even though we have come a far way in mobilizing Jamaicans, there is still much to be done to sensitize persons of the benefits of healthy lifestyle practices such as road racing,” said Francis.
With over 20 races annually, Francis and his Running Events team has made inroads in positioning road racing as a fun, interactive mechanism which is perfect for fund raising. The Running Events team has been instrumental in the top road race series across the island such as the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run, the True Juice Run For Your Cause, CUMI Come Run, Digicel’s Night Run and the CB Group UWI 5K Run/Walk which he helped to accumulate $28,000,000 over the first two years toward their scholarship initiative.
Francis has time and time again demonstrated insurmountable commitment to the road race circuit, especially those geared toward charity and development. Despite many challenges Francis, is still motivated and optimistic about further increase in the reach of the work which is put in to attract more Jamaicans to participate in healthy lifestyle practices.
“I have come upon a lot of challenges and obstacles but those are pale in contrast to the passion which I have for what I do and that makes those adversities easy to overcome,” said Francis.
On Sunday November 16, the CB Group UWI 5K will be run at the UWI Mona Bowl in honour of Alfred ‘Franno’ Francis. The event will hope to attract participation from entire families as there will also be the running of the first officially timed local Kids race with the Smart Egg Kids K set to run on the day. Proceeds from the event will go toward maintaining the University’s scholarship programme and to fund the purchase of equipment for the University Hospital of the West Indies’ Dialysis Unit.