NICKOLAI MADRAY and KRISTI-MARIE MADRAY (NYLO INTERN)
KENNETH ROTICH of Kenya will be back in Trinidad to defend the Desmond Baxter Challenge Trophy at Venture Credit Union's annual 5K (five kilometre) Run and Fun Walk event in Couva, carded for September 17.
Yesterday, the Venture Credit Union Co-operative Society Limited, in collaboration with CUNA Caribbean Insurance, launched the 18th edition at the Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain, with this year's theme being “We Care, We Share”.
The main sponsor, Venture Credit Union, handed over to its 5K committee a cheque valued at $270,000 towards the staging of this year’s event. The Union also received a cheque worth$25,000 from CUNA Caribbean Insurance as they extended their longstanding partnership with the Co-operative.
The event starts at 7 am in front of the Cash and Carry Supermarket.
Rotich, the back-to-back champion of the Half Marathon, expressed his desire to return to the event. However, he detailed that the cost to get to Trinidad would be a huge deterring factor for him as he is currently in Kenya.
The company made the decision to finalise the logistics in securing his participation in yet another event, which will cost approximately $26,000 (including accommodation). According to the Chairman of the 5K Committee, Lionel Sookoo, "We always try to maintain a very highly competitive event and, to do that, we thought it is important to bring some foreign athletes and, since Rotich is the defending champion, we saw it necessary to obtain his presence as it will increase the international standard of the event."
The event will also feature regional athletes from Guyana, St Vincent/Grenadines and Grenada. Athletes from the United States were also invited to participate. There will be seven age groups including Under-15, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and the Over-60 category.
To acquire instantaneous results across all the age groups, the 'chip' system which involves the implementation of microchips into the runners' number, will be utilised.
Technical Director of the 5K event, Allan Baboolal, confirmed there were 1,900 participants in last year’s edition and he is expecting over 2,000 individuals to be part of this year's event.
Baboolal detailed, "The reason we have decided to go with 'the chip', even though it is an expensive system, is because it became very difficult to manage results since we were only granted half of the roadway to use for both the 5K Run and Walk."
He revealed there was a $34,000 cost attached for the utilisation of the new system.
Prizes for the event include $3,000 for the respective male and female winners, in the 5K, while the runners-up will receive $2,000. Third place will receive $1,500 while fourth and fifth-placed finishers will be entitled to $1,200 and $1,000 respectively.
Individual prizes for the various age group winners include $200 for first, $150 for second and $100 for the third. A special $200 prize will be given to the winner of the differently-abled category.
Trophies will also be awarded to the largest teams based on their number of participants crossing the finish-line. Such team categories include financial institutions, corporations, schools and gyms.
The fee to register for children (primary and secondary) cost $20 and adults cost $40. Registration for the event can now be done online, as compared to the previous years, on the company's website and will also be available at the Credit Union's branches.
Forms can also be collected at Ramsingh's Sport World, Ramlogan and Sons, Royal Bank, First Citizens and Republic Bank branches in Couva. Other sponsors for the event include Blue Waters, Plipdeco, Eastern Credit Union, Trinidad and Tobago Police Credit Union, Central Missouri Community Credit Union, Agricola Credit Union, Caribbean Nitrogen Company and S Ramlogan and Sons Sports Centre.