media_artricles :: 2018
Cuban Perez to defend UWI Half Marathon crownJoel Bailey :: Newsday :: 23.10.2018
RICHER COBAS Perez, a Mexican-based Cuban, will be defending his crown, on Sunday, when the 15th edition of the UWI SPEC International Half Marathon takes place on the Priority Bus Route, from St Augustine to D'Abadie, Arouca, and back to St Augustine.
UWI St Augustine issued a media release yesterday, confirming the list of notable runners who will be involved in Sunday's race – which will start at 5.30 am.
Perez,who ran a new record time of 1:06.22, during the 2017 Edition, will be going up against the Venezuelan pair of Pedro Mora and Didimo Sanchez, Kenya's Jairus Chanchima and Guyana's Kelvin Johnson.
TT will be well-represented in the men's department, with Matthew Hagley and Curtis Cox, who finished fourth and fifth last year, among the expected starters. Other top TT long-distance runners in the fray include Shirvan Baboolal, Anthony Phillip, George Smith, Richard Jones, Elvis Turner, Keanu Otero and Nicholas Romany.
The 50-year-old Cox has been involved in all 14 editions so far and his best finish was second, in the inaugural race, in 2004.
"I've been in the top 10 in every edition, and my lowest finish was 10th in 2016," he said yesterday.
The veteran long-distance runner pointed out, "My motivation is just representing my country. Hearing people calling your name, it just gets your adrenaline going. I hope to be a motivation for young runners." Cox, the former national marathon champ, admitted that he suffered a hamstring injury a fortnight before last year's race.
However, he commented, "You have to pace your body for half-marathons. I'm hoping to go out there and do my best."
There will be a new women's champion as 2017 winner Tonya Nero is pursuing her Masters in Exercise Science at Wichita State University in the US.
St Martin's Cecilia Mobuchon, who was the 2017 fourth-place finisher, will participate on Sunday, as well as Colombia's Raquel Agudelo, Venezuela's Zuleima Amaya and Nubia Arpon, Kenya's Purity Cheromei, and the TT bunch of Celine Lestrade, Sjaelan Evans, Samantha Shukla, Dominique Martineau, Zinara Lesley and Chantal Le Maitre.
Race director Raymond Chin Assang is hopeful that the weather conditions, which affected most of Trinidad over the past few days, will ease up in time for Sunday's race.
"We're hoping that the weather would improve," he said. "I'm not sure what the rest of the week is going to be like. But we're hoping that everything would be okay and we can run the race."
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe, UWI chancellor Robert Bermudez and First Citizens Deputy CEO of Business Generation Jason Julien are also expected to compete in Sunday's race.
First Citizens are the major sponsors for the Half Marathon, which will have the theme "Each Mind Matters".
According to the media release, "this year's edition supports the cause of mental health (and) proceeds will be contributed to ChildLine and Lifeline.
"In honour of the race's 15th anniversary, relay teams of four persons were allowed to register to complete the 13.1 mile race."
The relay will begin at 6.15 am.
In this file photo, Cuba's Richer Perez reacts after crossing the finish line in 1st place with a new record time of 1:06.22, during the 2017 Edition of the UWI SPEC International Half Marathon at UWI SPEC, St. Augustine