media_artricles :: 2017
Nero makes T&T Marathon debutKwame Laurence :: Trinidad Express :: 28.01.2017
Tonya Nero will be on the road tomorrow morning, competing for the very first time in the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM).
"It's very special for me to run this marathon," Nero told the Express.
"All the athletes have been encouraging me to do it. They are excited to see me run, and my family is coming out to support, so I'm excited too."
Nero will challenge defending champion Leah Kigen for the women's title.
The Kenyan won last year's race in two hours, 58 minutes, 43 seconds and would fancy her chances of returning to the top spot on the podium. Colombian Palmenia Agudelo is also a contender for Kigen's crown. But Nero has a personal best of 2:43:14 and would be tough to beat if she's anywhere close to her best form.
Victory, however, is not Nero's main focus in the T&T Marathon. The 28-year-old queen of local distance running is eyeing the 2:45:00 IAAF World Championship qualifying standard.
"I want to run at the World Champs in London in August, so I'm targeting this marathon. If I don't get the time here, I can get another shot later on, probably in Rotterdam (Netherlands) in April.
"Training for the T&T Marathon," Nero continued, "is going good so far. But I haven't run a marathon since May last year, so I'll have to see how I feel on the day. If everything goes well, I think I can get the qualifying time. If I could win with what I run that's good, but I'm focusing on the World Champs time."
Tomorrow's marathon will be the fifth 26.2-mile race in Nero's career and only her second on home soil. She was the second woman to cross the finish line in last May's Sea to Sea Marathon, in Tobago.
Curtis Cox finished third in the men's race in Tobago, and though he is 49, will be T&T's main title hope in the T&T Marathon.
The 2005 champion will bid to dethrone Kenyan Mark Chepses, the winner of last year's race in 2:28:59. The list of challengers also includes Kenyans Peter Kemboi, Erick Kiprono and Stanley Sang, and Colombia's Jose Ararat.
For T&T's Collin Pereira, tomorrow's race is an opportunity for the 24-year-old to test his mettle against quality opposition.
The T&T International Marathon starts at 5am at St Mary's Junction in Freeport and finishes at the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, outside Whitehall. There will be a relay as well, featuring six, three and two-member teams.
The early start for slow runners and walkers is at 3.30. The TTIM 5K, meanwhile, takes place today around the QPS, with the finish line also at Whitehall.
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QUEEN OF THE ROAD: Tonya Nero