Derrick McIntyre will celebrate his 80th birthday when he competes in the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon on January 21.
McIntyre, who turns 80 on February 9, will walk the TT Marathon with training partner Bhoopat Rampersad, starting from Freeport and making their way to the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
The Mt Hope resident said he has been training hard for the 26.2 mile race and believes he is ready to show his fitness and skill on the day.
“(Preparation is) very good. So far I did two long walks – 21 and 22 miles respectively already.”
McIntyre said the extra four or five miles on race day won’t be a problem as seeing persons lining the streets will give him motivation to reach the finish line.
“It will not make a difference because it is a different atmosphere. I did those miles on my own, without anybody cheering me on or without anybody with you. I had one partner with me, but I did not have any crowd supporting me.”
McIntyre said everyone admires him for competing at his advanced age.
“Everyone (says) I am an inspiration. It makes me feel very good.
Younger people, people who are 40, 50 say ‘boy you inspire me, I wish I could do this when I reach your age.’”
McIntyre encouraged everyone to not let age be a deterrent as he started running when he was 47 years old.
“You could reach, you just have to start. I started to run at age 47, I did not start at a young boy. In school, I never liked running, I played cricket, football and tennis but never running.”
McIntyre said he plans to compete until he reaches 100 years old.
The experienced runner said he tries to maintain a healthy diet. “(I eat) whole grain bread, lots of fruits and veggies, rice, lentil peas, red beans, fish and I like a little pork,” he admitted with a chuckle.
McIntyre, who wants to complete the marathon in six and a half hours, trains at the Aranguez Savannah, Queen’s Park Savannah, Caura and along the Priority Bus Route.
McIntyre has completed 30 marathons over the last 32 years, including two appearances at the New York Marathon.