media_artricles :: 2018
Lewis, supporters complete marathon for TT athletesNewsday :: 22.01.2018
Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis is hopeful that pledges will be honoured after he and his team of supporters successfully completed the 36th edition of the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM), on Sunday.
After the 3.30 am start at St Mary's Junction in Freeport, approximately 20 walkers completed the gruelling 26.2-mile event, crossing the finish line at the Queen's Park Savannah in support of the TTOC's "Walk the Talk" initiative, which is one of the main fund-raisers for the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.
The Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund was established in 2015.
It provides financial assistance to TT athletes to help with preparation for major competitions, direct support and subsistence, health and accident insurance as well as the provision of medal bonuses. This year marked the fourth walk in support of the fund.
It was an especially difficult journey for Lewis who has been battling with the flu. The TTOC president, who completed the course in just under six hours and 35 minutes said the trek was tough, particularly along the Eastern Main Road, but he was encouraged by the support from his team and spectators along the route.
Lewis said, "I was determined to finish it as the cause is really about the athletes. I have to admit there were times out there when I questioned my sanity.
"The last couple of miles I had to repeatedly tell myself that the objective was to just finish. We got a good reception from people on the road and it helped to encourage me along the way."
Lewis was also grateful to the marathon committee, as well as other TTOC partners and supporters for joining with them for the worthy initiative.
Media personality and cultural partner Kerron 'Sunny Bling' Sealy was among the first TTOC supporters to finish the race.
Sealy said, "I am proud to complete the race for another year. I'm a proud supporter of Team TTO because I'm a Trinbagonian."
Roger Daniel, a national shooter, said it was intense but as an athlete he understood how essential the fund-raising effort was.
"As you know, finances are so short and we really need the help. There are many athletes who are just sacrificing, making the time, training hard but they just don't have the financial assistance to make it. When people see us doing this, they commit to contributing, so that is why we love doing it as well."
Meanwhile, Hillan Morean, Deputy Mayor of Port of Spain who joined the group along the route said causes such as this are important as sporting bodies can no longer rely solely on government subventions.
"It's about time that we start to develop more models that could support our athletes. Yes, the government does have a role to play; however, it is time that more individuals, more private organizations come on board with the initiative to give our athletes that sustainable support."
Members of the public can still show their support for the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund by making a direct contribution at Scotiabank via account number 171188.
TTOC president Brian Lewis (centre) appraoches the finish line of the TT international marathon on Sunday.