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Tuesday 19 February 2019
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Evans: God is my coach

TT Marathon 2018 local runner-up back for fun

Sjaelan Evans at the 2018 TT International Marathon. 
Photo by Mario Russell
Sjaelan Evans at the 2018 TT International Marathon. Photo by Mario Russell

NATIONAL runner-up Sjaelan Evans is out to enjoy herself on Sunday at the 2019 edition of the TT International Marathon, which takes off from Freeport and finishes 26.2 miles later in Port of Spain. Evans, despite being one of the top female long distance runners in the country, does not have a coach and said placing one better and becoming national champion is not a motivating factor. Evans clocked three hours, 21 minutes and 23.3 seconds in 2018, to finish behind local winner Celine Lestrade (3:14:09.0).

Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Evans said, "I don't have a goal. I'm just using it as a long run – a training run. I don't really set goals for my local races. I tend to set time goals for my international races so I'm going to go and have fun.

Although a podium finish is likely on Sunday, the Port of Spain resident said it would not be because of any extra effort from her. She said she has been sticking to her normal routine so far.

"I'm sure I'm gonna place (in the top three) because I don't really know that much people doing it. I have not really been training. I have London Marathon in April so I'll probably start upping my game in February. I'm always training. I'm never not in training but I didn't train specifically for this race. I try to get a run in everyday and I also spin and I just started swimming last week at Flying Fish with TT Aquatics."

Evans, marketing coordinator at Very Exciting Things Ltd, has been running 11 years now but only started taking the sport seriously in 2016.

And even now, she has refused to officially join a club or get professional coaching. Asked whether she feels at a disadvantage having never been able to tap into the knowledge of a coach, she said, "No, no, no, I'm my own coach. I don't feel that way. I choose not to have a coach because I don't like to follow rules or a programme. I know my body very well."

Despite not believing in a coach, Evans, a Christian, is a true believer in God and draws her inspiration from Him.

"Yeah for sure. I would say that apart from me being my own coach, I would also say God would be my coach as well. I kind of listen to God and my body," she said.

Does pushing her body to the limit and willing herself to the finish line bring her closer to God?

"It actually does. I don't know, I feel like I'm utilising the gifts that He gave me; so whenever I'm running I feel more connected to Him," she said.

Discussing her past two experiences in the TT Marathon, Evans said the most challenging part was the overhead conditions.

"I guess the heat maybe. Last year it rained so I got spoiled but the year before was kind of hot. Last year was nice and cool. I know a lot of people complain about the costs but I don't find it a challenging cost at all," she said.

The 33 year old, who has ran the prestigious Boston Marathon before, said 2019 is an important year for her. Apart from the London Marathon, she will be competing at the Sea to Sea Marathon in Tobago in May, and the Barbados Marathon in December.

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