By BBN Staff: The 89th Edition of the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic kicks off on Holy Saturday, April 15 at 6 a.m.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the race:
The race began in April of 1928, when Belizean Monrad Metzgen noticed the amount of bicycles people use to attend cricket games in Northern Belize. He proposed a cycling “expedition” to El Cayo. At the time, the road was a rough trail. The Governor, Sir John Burdon immediately pledged his support and offered a cup as a prize to the winner.
The winner of the first race was Belizean Elston Kerr.
The only cyclist to have won three consecutive cross country races was cyclist Aston Gill.
Jeffrey O’Brien, known to be the best sprinter won the Cross Country in 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955—all in a sprint finish and took second place in 1953.
Many of the trailblazers of the history of the sport are the fathers and grandfathers of some of our present day distinguished cyclists.
The annual one day sporting event is organized by the Cycling Federation of Belize (formerly Belize and British Honduras Cycling Association).
The race begins at 6:00 a.m. every year on Holy Saturday in Belize City. Cyclists ride to San Ignacio town and back to Belize City in a grueling 144 mile ride.
The participation of the race is limited to amateur cyclists from any country.
In addition to prizes awarded to first, second and third place at the end of the race, businesses give station prizes along the highway.
Thousands of Belizeans line up along the George Price Highway to watch the race.