LOCAL long distance runner Cantius Thomas has no reservations about hanging up his marathon shoes, after winning the national title at the 2019 TT International Marathon on Sunday. The gruelling 26.2-mile race started at Freeport and ended at Whitehall, around the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Thomas, 52, crossed the finish line fourth overall in three hours, five minutes and 55 seconds, finishing behind Mexican-based Kenyan Stephen Njoroge Mbure (2:27:16), American Bryan Morseman (2:27:26) and women's champion Grace Kahura (2:53:50), also of Kenya.
After the race, Thomas said it was time to stop competing in marathons after making his debut in 1985.
He said, "Thirty-four years I am running – 30 marathons. For my age, I think that is enough. (It is good to) hang up the belt on a good note and try to get somebody involved and train them to reach probably my level or past my level."
Although losing the zeal to compete in marathons, Thomas said he wants to continue competing in 5K, 10K and half-marathons.
Discussing his performance on Sunday, Thomas said, "It was amazing at my age (to finish fourth overall), I prepared for two weeks. My goal was to do two hours and 50 minutes but I did not put in the work for it."
Thomas, who enjoys gardening, said he wants to get involved in coaching. "I will try to help the young ones who need help in running and training. I will try my best to be there to assist them," he said.
A member of One a Week Running Club, Thomas said he will begin passing on his knowledge there.
He hopes to see more young people challenging themselves in long distance running as "people more into sprinting" nowadays.
Born in Maraval but residing currently in Gonzales, Thomas has tested his skills in Barbados, Canada and Venezuela.
The veteran runner said an unfortunate experience when he was a teenager led him in the direction of long distance running. He said, "I had a little incident. I lost my passage to go home so I decided, instead of sitting down waiting, to run and I was talking to myself and saying, 'I could run'; I ran from the (Queen's Park) Savannah to Maraval just a little before the Police Station (close to Moka)."
Thomas said someone helped him buy shoes and clothes to participate in events when he was 19 years old and the rest is history.