media_artricles :: 2017
Marathon committee faces prize $ setbackWalter Alibey :: Trinidad Guardian :: 30.01.2017
The T&T International Marathon (TTIM) Committee faces a major challenge from runners following yesterday's event. TTIM faces a possible lawsuit for changes to its prize structure a few days before yesterday's running.
At the finish-line yesterday, a number of disgruntled runners vented their disgust over the changes. Anthony Nero, father of T&T's Tonya Nero, who was second in the women's category, promised to deliver a pre-action protocol letter to the organisers if his daughter did not get the cash prize she agreed to run for when she registered to compete.
Up until the finish of yesterday's race, runners were still unsure of the cash prizes, as organisers made several critical changes to the structure of the cash incentives, citing the downturn in the economy.
According to flyer used to advertise the race, the winners in the men's category was set to receive $23,000 for the win, $17,000 for second, $13,600 for third, $6,800 for fourth and $5,100 for fifth, but yesterday organisers were still trying to determine how to split the prizes from a bare budget. The overall cost to host the event was not disclosed.
Diane Henderson, chairman of the TTIM committee, painted a bleak picture stating that the organisers have to produce the event from nothing, and called on participants to be understanding.
She pointed that out her organisation is in the red and it has been that way for a long time now, and called on runners to be patient.
However, the senior Nero, who himself was a stand-out middle-to-long distance runner in his hey day, told Guardian Media his daughter's registration was done based on a number of factors, including the prize monies that were offered. "She could have gone elsewhere in the world to run yesterday, but instead she considered what was being offered here in T&T and made her decision."
He claimed: "The event is an international event which invites runners from all over the world, meaning they are inviting professionals to the event. You cannot treat professional athletes that way. I do not want to hear about downturn in the economy now as this should have been discussed long before the event was staged. You cannot wait until a day or so before an event to change the prize structure."
Nero's fears were worsened after the 5K runners revealed the winning prize for the race on Saturday was an embarrassing $300, which was a reduction of $1200 from the amount being advertised ahead of the race. Lionel Dandrade, a Guyanese runner who resides in T&T, did not take part in this weekend's events. He has vowed never to take part in the TTIM 5K or relays as there was something fundamentally wrong with the management of the event.
According to Dandrade, he pulled out since last year as he received far less than what he competed for. This year's 5K carried a prize structure of $1,500 for the winner, $1,000 second, $700 third and $500 for fourth etc, but following Saturday's event the top finishers got $300, $200 and $100 for first, second and third, respectively.