A NEW trail course through the thick bushes of Tucker Valley, Chaguaramas, will be explored by hundreds of runners, mountain bike riders and dogs, at the 13th annual Subway River Raid, hosted by Rainbow Warriors Triathlon Club, on Sunday.
The three-part event features trail runs, mountain bike races and a competitive Doggy Run, all starting at Samaan Park. The boys and girls' mountain bike races in five age divisions will open the competition from 8 am.
Details of the event were shared at a press briefing at Mike's Bikes, Ariapita Avenue, yesterday, where Rainbow Warriors events director Jason Gooding promised a healthy and exciting event for all ages.
He said the new and improved trail was a necessary and exciting development for this year's event.
"Last year, because of all the rains, we had trails that got destroyed severely due to the flooding, because we used a river bank and a river bed for most of the course," Gooding said. "So we decided to scrap that old trail and redirect some of the previous trails and create a brand new trail. And it's going to be exciting. It's been completed about three weeks now."
Gooding said the event was one of the first of its kind in TT and is as prominent and recognised as he wants it to be.
"We started this years ago when I just found out that there was just one trail in Chaguaramas. We would ride up the trail and ride down the road.
"Thirteen years later, we've definitely evolved and the Chaguaramas area has a trail network that you could probably do a two-hour race for one loop," Gooding added.
The distance of the trail is 4km. The Open Mountain Bike races will require riders to challenge six loops, while the Sport Mountain Bike category will feature four loops. The Trail Run will consist of just one loop.
Gooding said the track is shaded and will be cool enough for participants, even with the 10 am start of the trail run.
The Doggy Run, a popular feature of the event, will run again with prizes on offer for the overall male and overall female.
"At Rainbow Warriors, we try to do different things (like) encourage people to bring their dogs out to events. So we started including dog and owner categories in our races to encourage more people to exercise. He said the intention was to encourage a wider cross-section of participants and to "change the stigma of dogs being aggressive."
The Doggy Run is used as a forerunner to Pro Plan Doogy Dash race, which will be held in August.
Prizes will also be awarded to the top three finishers in the Open/Elite Mountain Bike (Overall, Ladies and 40-and-Over); Sport Mountain Bike (overall, five male age divisions and Ladies); Kids Mountain Bike (four boys and four girls divisions); Trail Run (Overall Male, Overall Female, and seven age divisions); Doggy Run (Overall Male and Overall Female).
"Our trail run course, the (registration for) participation is almost completed. I think we have just a handful of spots left. We have probably 40 more spots in the open mountain bike race, but traditionally, the mountain bikers register a day before the event."
Many, if not all the reigning champions in their respective categories, including Ryan Chin and Gabriella Samuel in the Men and Women's Open Mountain Bike divisions, as well as Brian Marsan and Shelly Augustine in the Men and Women's Sport Mountain Bike divisions, have all registered.
Anthony Phillip and Sjaelan Evans, last year's winners of the Men and Women's Trail Run, are also back to defend their titles.
Subway is the title sponsor for a sixth year. Other sponsors include Dairy Dairy, Odessey Timing Company, Universal Ambulance Services, Renew Star Serpentine Ltd, dR Caliente Designs, Gatorade, the Chaguaramas Development Authority, Blue Waters and GoVet. Registration remains open at riverraidtt.com.