OVER 1,000 runners will be competing in the three races that make up the 2019 TT International Marathon Festival which takes off tomorrow.
At close of registration for this year’s festival, 26 six-member teams entered the historic first-ever NP relay which gets the weekend's activities underway. Each team member will run one lap of the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, starting at 5.30pm tomorrow. Port of Spain mayor Joel Martinez will announce the start of the race.
A full house of 700 runners will be involved in the KISS 5K on Saturday. This year, the 5K will begin at Dere Street in Port of Spain, with participants making one and a quarter laps of the Queen's Park Savannah before ending at Whitehall.
The signature event on the weekend is the TT International Marathon featuring a gruelling 26.2-mile journey from St Mary's Junction in Freeport to Whitehall. The marathon, which is being contested by 183 runners, starts at 5am.
Defending marathon women's champion Leah Kigen will not be competing as unfortunately her mother has recently died. However, reigning men's winner Stephen Njoroge of Kenya is expected to arrive tomorrow to defend his title. Also returning is American Bryan Moorseman. Several other overseas challengers are also arriving for Sunday’s event. There is a new crop of local faces who should do well, including the ultra talented Sjaelan Evans. The marathon male and female winners will each receive US$6,500 this year.
The TT marathon committee is this year providing a water stop each mile of the event, as per standard, with three additional Gatorade stops and a fruit station at the halfway point. There will also be three ambulances on the course courtesy the Defence Force, fire services and a medic station at the end of the marathon.
Sponsors will be offering samples and there will also be entertainment from steelbands Starlift and Phase Two plus a DJ at the Queen's Park Savannah.