National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago

naaatt :: media_artricles :: 2019

 

Marathon joy

Andre Baptise :: Trinidad Guardian :: 13.02.2019

The last Sun­day in Jan­u­ary was the T&T In­ter­na­tion­al Marathon (TTIM).

Un­like pre­vi­ous years, the fol­low­ing Mon­day was pain­less. That is sim­ply be­cause, in my fifth marathon in a row, the prepa­ra­tion was much bet­ter. Nat­u­ral­ly, it helped that there was bet­ter sup­port both men­tal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly this time around, un­like pre­vi­ous ef­forts.

In sum­ming it up, it was just that, a lot of sums - a lot of cal­cu­la­tion, some cal­cu­lus, and a lit­tle geom­e­try - but most im­por­tant­ly some crit­i­cal­ly per­ti­nent ad­vice from my broth­er Nigel Mark and some se­ri­ous in­tro­spec­tion on my fit­ness. 

Two days of in­tense train­ing with him for over four hours was enough to make me un­der­stand, what cham­pi­on horse rac­ing train­er Glenn Mendez must en­dure when he is putting his charges through their work­outs, ahead of the Stew­ards Cup and the Gold Cup. Con­grats to him as well on his five win­ners on Sat­ur­day.

Un­like pre­vi­ous years, we gen­er­al­ly stuck to our re­lay plan, al­though we still achieved a lot more than orig­i­nal­ly planned among the usu­al sus­pects in the re­lay team of Tony Lee, Eliz­a­beth Grif­fith, An­ton La Fond, Roger Daniel, Richie Rahim (the 70-year-old who was the fastest), Cap­tain Andy Cheeks and a new­com­er Al­lan Fras­er.

Guardian Me­dia Lim­it­ed's Sun­ny Bling and Robert Du­mas, each had ob­jec­tives and each man­aged to soul search their re­spec­tive per­son­al­i­ties to achieve their own glo­ry and while Sun­ny Bling has been a reg­u­lar over the last few years, Du­mas' run for his lov­ing dad, was both in­spi­ra­tional and emo­tion­al and proves that love over­comes near­ly every­thing even in sports.

The main man be­hind this ef­fort was the pres­i­dent of the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) Bri­an Lewis, who start­ed the race from 3.30 am. His aim was to sur­pass his pre­vi­ous per­son­al best and this year, Lewis seemed to be best pre­pared to do that and the fact, that Di­anne Hen­der­son (chair­per­son of TTIM), and her team had arranged for the Pri­or­i­ty Bus Route (PBR) to be utilised traf­fic free from Curepe to Port-of-Spain, en­sured a smoother, less ob­struc­tive course. The odds cer­tain­ly were in Lewis's favour.

And when T&T's lead­ing marathon fe­male on the day, Sjae­lan Evans, waltzed pass our group, it ap­peared that every­one was in­deed en­joy­ing the change in con­di­tions and sur­face. The ease of tran­si­tion in her stride and the smile on her face told a pic­ture of a young woman get­ting ready for some­thing greater (Lon­don Marathon).

Af­ter all of these ef­forts, one can on­ly hope that both cor­po­rate T&T and oth­er re­lat­ed per­sons would come for­ward with as­sis­tance go­ing for­ward.

As was the case last year and in pre­vi­ous years, as the race pro­gressed, it was clear that there was go­ing to be some pace on, as both Daniel and Nigel Mark seemed in­tent on 12-minute miles but by the 19 mile mark­er though that thought process and mind­set was erod­ed and re­placed by the re­al­i­ty of 14 to 15 minute miles.

This year, the one draw­back of util­is­ing the PBR was eas­i­ly re­alised, as you were not able to in­ter­act and com­mu­ni­cate with spec­ta­tors as eas­i­ly as when you are us­ing the East­ern Main Road. Hope­ful­ly go­ing for­ward the T&T pub­lic will be­come ac­cus­tomed to the new course and make their pres­ence felt.

Five years ago when Lewis con­cep­tu­alised this ven­ture to raise funds to­wards the ath­letes wel­fare and as­sis­tance dri­ve lead­ing to his 10 or more Olympic gold medals by 2024, there were many who scoffed at the idea but yet again by think­ing out­side of the box and hav­ing com­mit­ment sup­port and putting aside self-in­ter­est, Lewis and his team have changed the face of the TTOC, to­wards a more all-en­com­pass­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion than a "boys club".

So just as TTOC 's dri­ve for "The Fu­ture is Fe­male" is gen­er­at­ing nu­mer­ous plau­dits, and draw­ing at­ten­tion the lack of women in sports ad­min­is­tra­tion, let us hope more per­sons un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of such go­ing for­ward. 

Per­haps, I am hope­ful that in 2020, more women come out to sup­port from all over T&T, by ac­tu­al­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing, but then as I looked at the hard­work­ing group of Na­dine Khan, Lovie San­tana, Rheeza Grant and Chanelle Young, I can see the need for not on­ly di­ver­si­ty in our sports ad­min­is­tra­tion but al­so in sports cov­er­age. Who knows the next pres­i­dent of the TTOC, could very much be a woman.

This year, it was great to have the may­or of Port-of-Spain Joel Mar­tinez and the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Sen­a­tor Clarence Ramb­harat both com­plete the course as well. Per­haps the growth from a group of eight in 2015 to 41 per­sons this edi­tion, sug­gests the in­creas­ing buy-in of per­sons for what Lewis is striv­ing to achieve but the truth is we need more sup­port.


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Marathon joy
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T&T Olympic (TTOC) president Brian Lewis, third from right with some of the members of the TTOC relay team including Roger Daniel, from left, Aasan Lewis, Richie Rahim, Mayor Joel Martinez, Andre Errol Baptiste and Nigel Mark Baptiste, who ran the T&T International Marathon on January 27.

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