The thrills of T&T’s marathon journey

Walking in support of the T&T Olympic Committee fundraising project during last Sunday’s T&T International Marathion were sports commentator and writer Andre Errol Baptiste, Olympic shooter Roger Daniel and sports enthausaist Nigel Mark Baptiste.

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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 the best athletic trainer in the country Asha De Freitas –Moseley, needless to say, I ignored them both, because after all, I had done this previously, and what they were saying made too much sense, and I do like a challenge!.

That was my first mistake.

The second mistake occurred when I allowed my brother to convince me otherwise on my plan to only participate over half of the distance in our usual Relay team of Tony Lee, Elizabeth Griffith, Dexter Skeene and Nigel Mark.

So after fearing the worst for an obvious ill Brian Lewis, the T&TOC President, we set off to find him at just after 5.30am and found him with his son, Roger Daniel and Anton La Fond at the nine-mile marker. My maths then calculated as we walked that this year was going to be 16 miles, less than the 19 miles in 2017. After all despite the lack of funding and support he gets from both corporate T&T and the people, I think my concerns and edgy questions are reasonably well judged.

As the race progressed, it was clear, that there was going to be some pace on, as both Daniel and Mark seemed intent on 14 minute miles. In fact, Jomo Pitt, Secretary of Sports at the THA, ran like “ Whisper Light” and set a torrid pace up front and was never caught almost as if he detected I wanted to engage him sports talk with regards to the state of the Dwight Yorke Stadium. Also, among the frontrunners (I mean walkers) was Slam’s 100.5 DJ, Keron “Sunny Bling “ Sealy, who won that contest and quite frankly he didn’t care that much.

I had my own problems to content given the blazing pace, which left me trailing the Lewis-led pack, thankfully, I found a more than able companion in Commonwealth Games medallist Daniel, who helped claw back the lead.

All the while, I could hear people cheering on the effort of the Olympic team, while asking who had won the marathon as the time passed, and the crowd for once seem to be growing from Curepe Junction to St Joseph, but then as the leaders started to stretch away, the rains came, and like the West Indies team these days, both Roger and myself found solace and sanctuary, not to mention some welcome relief as the rains seem to give us a second win.

The famous Keith Harris “the bikeman as he is known”, joined us and we set about dismantling the lead establish, all the while, with energy going, I was inclined to follow Daniel’s wise advice.

Although for any onlooker by foot or via the many vehicles that passed at times too close to the participants, there could have been a sense of panic, as Daniel instructed us to raise our hands in the air for around three to five minutes to allow the blood to circulate down, and although it was clearly working.

Many of us, believe in our own strength of character, many of us believe that we are sent on this earth to achieve something, to do something worthwhile, an event that will forever define you, and write your name in the history books of this country.

Perhaps, I am hopeful, that in 2019, more women come out to support from all over T&T, by actually participating, but then as I looked at the hardworking Olympic family group of Nadine, Marsha, Rheza and Chanelle, I can see the need for not only diversity in our sports administration but also in sports coverage.

The two Claytons - Morris and Blackman were there as well giving their best, while GML’s very own Kelvin Nancoo, played his part by assisting with a water station in on Ariapita Avenue, by sitting and waving on the runners as they passed.

Nevertheless, it was fun, and enjoyable completion over the distance covered, 26.2 gruelling miles which concluded at White Hall, at the Queen’s Park Savanah after about six hous of running, opps, I mean walking. At the end of the run there’s always something to smile home about, and perhaps even better is the massage after. Next year hopefully, more will support with the feet and by showing their will with financial commitments.

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