media_artricles :: 2017
T&T marathon is more than a raceBrian Lewis :: Trinidad Guardian :: 06.02.2017
On January 28, the 35th edition of the T&T International Marathon (TTIM) played itself out from 3.30 am and at 5 am at St Mary's Junction, Freeport to the finish line at Whitehall, Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.
After years of diminishing interest and profile, the event under the unstinting efforts of current TTIM chairperson Diane Henderson is beginning to bear fruit as interest in this test of human endurance is growing in the face of the usual justifiable criticisms about the T&T 26.2-mile challenge.
There's no doubt that the TTIM is a microcosm of our society.
A sentimental idea maybe. Even during its struggles there is a special brand of "Trinbago" even Caribbean flair to the twin island Republic's marathon test.
The addition of the marathon relay has seen growth from 36 to 70 plus teams. First introduced in 2015, the TTOC marathon walk serves to raise awareness and funds for the national Olympic committee #10golds24 athlete welfare and preparation fund via the marathon serving as its charity fund raiser. It's not a novel idea, simply the arrival of a concept that is a key feature of the world's major marathons.
Some may ask, why is a marathon so compelling? Some believe that the marathon fosters a clarity of purpose to those who set out to challenge the course and by extension their own will and determination over 26.2 miles.
Its hard having completed a full marathon not to feel a sense of achievement and that you have overcome all manner of human emotions which allows one to dig deep into his/her reserves of mental, emotional and physical reservoirs. The marathon finisher knows what he or she can overcome.
Admittedly, it's not everyone's cup of tea, as some view starting and finishing of this long grind as nothing else but self inflicted torture.
It was heartening the support given by the Tourism Development Company (TDC). It stands to reason that from a sport tourism perspective the marathon can be seen as a hidden and ignored jewel. When T&T gets serious about sport tourism, a mass participation event like this will become a strategic priority and opportunity for the local sport industry since this event has the potential to be developed into an attractive global, continental and regional elite level event for professional and recreational marathon runners and walkers.
Let's return to a bit of reflection, following on from 2015 and 2016, the support for the TTOC marathon walk continues to attract growing interest.
Joining the #TeamTTO #10golds24 merry band of marathoners were assembly man Jomo Pitt of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), the secretary for Sport and Youth Affairs, T&T's popular entertainment personality Sunny Bling (Kerron Sealy), TDC's Samuel Sankar and Roger Sant, NGC- CNG corporate communication manager.
They joined regulars Andre Baptiste, Nigel Baptiste, managing director of Republic Bank, Caribbean Airlines (CAL) captain Andy Cheejes, Olympic shooter Roger Daniel, T&T Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene, i955fm Tony Lee and Elizabeth Griffith and 68-year -old, Richie Rahim.
Just on a side note, as the weary, merry band made their way along the final mile. Some in the group including supporters started singing: "Just hold them and 'wuk' them, we bone tired, hungry and thirsty, but we jamming still. We in the marathon to the full extreme. We jamming still. We doh business. We not stopping. We jamming still."
The adaptation of a few lines of the MX Prime and Ultimate Rejects mega hit Full Extreme said it all.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brian Lewis is the president of the TTOC and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.
T&TOC President Brian Lewis, centre, during his walk to the finish-line of the T&T International Marathon on January 28th. He is accompanied by Andre Errol Baptiste, left, and Nigel Mark Baptiste of Republic bank.