media_artricles :: 2017
Varela wins T&Tís Marathon crownTrinidad Guardian :: 30.01.2017
Kenyan Leah Kigen successfully defended her Women's title at the T&T International Marathon yesterday, but a new Men's champion was crowned as Venezuelan Jose Alejandro Varela crossed the finish line first to dethrone last year's winner Mark Cheopses of Kenya.
Kigen, who was favoured to retain her title, did not disappoint, although Mary Akor, who was banned from running for her use of performance enhancement drugs a few years ago, disobeyed instructions not to run yesterday, to prove that she could have won the race had she been competed.
The United States-based Nigerian runner crossed the finish line first, but it was all in vain.
Organisers waited until 37-year-old Kigen, a runaway runner from the start, broke through the finishing tape in a time of two hours; 54 minutes and 46 seconds (2:54: 46).
Tonya Nero, the T&T runner stormed home for the second position in a decent time of 2:56:33 which was not fast enough to secure a qualifying berth for the World Championships in London England in August.
After her gutsy performance Nero told Guardian Media she was happy with her performance and time, which represented her second fastest marathon finish to date.
"I gave it my all. I tried to keep pace with the front runners for the first 20 miles and then gave it my all at the finish. I saw Kigen in front , but I just could not catch her," Nero said.
She said she will now have to run in another marathon to try and qualify for the World Championships.
Veteran T&T runner Christine Regis completed the top three, finishing in a time of three hours; 26 minutes and 10 seconds, with Canada's Karen Downey in fourth (3:35:11) and Sjaelan Evans fifth in (3:35:51) for T&T.
Among the men, 30-year-old Varela left the field in his dust to cruise comfortably across the finish-line in a time of two hours; 37 minutes and 51 seconds. Afterwards he explained that while he was happy with his time, he started experiencing cramps near the end of the race and could not produce the time he should have.
Varela was followed to the tape by second place finisher T&T's veteran runner Curtis Cox who said he was calling it a day after 29 years of competing at the event. "It will be the end for me. I have given it 29 years, running since 1986." Like Varela, Cox's performance was hampered by a niggling hamstring injury which saw him burst through the caution tape in two hours; 41 minutes and 43 seconds.
Cox who admitted that he will still do some running here and there, was unsure if he would consider entering the field of coaching as some of his compatriots.
Meanwhile, Peter Kemboi of the USA was third (2: 46:16); Colin Perreira (T&T) 2: 47:40 fourth; Errol 'Baldhead' Williams fifth 2:55:44 and Kelvin Johnson sixth in 2:56:32 seconds.
Also among the top 10 finishers in the men were St Lucia's Winsbert Sylvester in seventh (2:57:13); Michael Honore (3:02:11) eighth; Guswill George (3:02:18) in ninth and Javan Lynch in 10th in a time of (3:15:31). Cheopses, the defending champion, started the race but did not finish.