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The T&T In­ter­na­tion­al Marathon (TTIM) is on Sun­day. It's num­ber 37. Founder of the T&T marathon, Raf­fique Shah is cred­it­ed as start­ing the lo­cal edi­tion of the en­durance event in 1983. Then known as the Mir­ror Marathon, the 26.2-mile run cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of the na­tion back then and for many decades af­ter.

The marathon had not on­ly run­ners but al­so spec­ta­tors out in the dawn hours. The route was a 26-mile gath­er­ing and lim­ing spot. The dread­ed re­frain for the mid­dle of the pack and recre­ation­al par­tic­i­pants was: "Granny com­ing" (re­fer­ring to icon­ic lo­cal fig­ure Lynette "Granny" Luces).

But for many dur­ing those years the marathon be­came just as Christ­mas, Eid, Di­vali and Car­ni­val, ea­ger­ly an­tic­i­pat­ed. At its peak, the T&T marathon may have had about 1,200 run­ners. Shah may have ex­act in­for­ma­tion.

Giv­en the im­pact that the marathon had on road-run­ning in the twin Is­land re­pub­lic, I am al­so con­fi­dent the marathon would have in­spired and mo­ti­vat­ed many par­tic­i­pants who may nev­er have con­sid­ered them­selves ath­let­ic to pur­sue an ac­tive lifestyle with run­ning be­com­ing a pos­i­tive lifestyle habit.

There are now Trin­bag­o­ni­ans tak­ing on the chal­lenge of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the var­i­ous marathons around the globe. Some have even felt con­fi­dent to take on the iron man event.

One can sin­cere­ly hope that the his­to­ry of the marathon is not lost and un­doc­u­ment­ed. It's a sto­ry that is wor­thy of shar­ing. Shah and all those who worked tire­less­ly with him to build the marathon and the foun­da­tions of the lo­cal ver­sion their ef­fort car­ries valu­able lessons for us all.

Even as the lo­cal marathon's par­tic­i­pa­tion num­bers have dwin­dled to be­low 200, St Mary's junc­tion in Freeport to White­hall, Queens Park Sa­van­nah in Port-of-Spain, the test of men­tal for­ti­tude has en­dured and re­mained re­silient.

Cur­rent TTIM chair­per­son Di­ane Hen­der­son and her com­mit­tee are en­deav­our­ing to over­come dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances. It's not easy. There are more ve­hi­cles on the roads of T&T, but none of the prob­lems is un­solv­able.

So here we are in 2019, marathon day is al­most up­on us. When the starter sends both the walk­ers off at 3.30 am, and the run­ners at 5 am, reach­ing the Queens Park Sa­van­nah will be the ob­jec­tive, and it will be no dif­fer­ent from any oth­er marathon any­where else in the world.

Each par­tic­i­pant will dur­ing the 26.2-mile jour­ney ask his or her­self why? The an­swer can on­ly come from deep with­in. The ex­trin­sic mo­ti­va­tion will help, but it's the in­ner self, run­ners and walk­ers, will call on. Can I make it to the fin­ish line? The an­swer will come from with­in.

The T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) Team TTO marathon team will for the fifth year take on the marathon chal­lenge to raise aware­ness and fund­ing for the #10golds24 ath­lete wel­fare and prepa­ra­tion. Con­tri­bu­tions can be made by cheque to the TTOC or di­rect­ly to Sco­tia­bank ac­count num­ber 171188. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion email, mar­ket­ing@ttoc.org.

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