MINISTER of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe, who has set the standard for participating in long distance events, is encouraging more women to get involved in running, starting with the Venture Credit Union Co-operative Society Ltd 20th anniversary 5K Run and Fun Walk being held in collaboration with CUNA Caribbean Insurance, on September 22.
Yesterday, at the media launch,at Hilton Hotel, in Port of Spain, Cudjoe said she will be making her debut at the 2019 edition.
Cudjoe, who participates in long distance events regularly, said women need to take better care of themselves. “Too often women are absorbed with fulfilling our various roles as mothers, wives, caregivers, while also being bread winners and we don’t pay enough attention to our physical health and well being.”
The minister said it is not about winning, but participation. “We believe that is important to incorporate fitness and exercise as part of your daily routine in order to maintain healthy lifestyles. Our business in the ministry is not just about competitive sport, but about encouraging physical activity for recreation, for our personal health and so on. It’s about physical fitness, also for mental health because running is an outlet.”
Cudjoe said as part of the ministry’s drive for healthier living, the ministry will sponsor 20 women in a number of long distance events, starting with the Venture Credit Union 5K.
“As the races come along, we are committing to sponsoring 20 women who have not been runners before. If you know you are accustom participating and paying your fees, it is not specifically for you. It is to get women up off the couch and on your feet. If you can walk, you can run and if you can run you can race.”
The event will start and finish along Southern Main Road in Couva, near the Venture Credit Union Branch. Local and international athletes will compete for individual and team awards. In the local open category, the first place man and woman will walk away with $2,000 each, second place will earn $1,500 and third place $1,200.
For international competitors, the winner will get US$700, followed by US$500 for second and US$300 for third place. Age group prizes are up for grabs including in the Under-15, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and the 60 and over age groups. There will also be a special prize for the top disabled athlete and team awards. The organisers are encouraging financial institutions, credit unions, schools, corporations and gyms/fitness groups to register participants. Interested people can register now at www.raceroster.com and at any of the Venture Credit Union branches from August 5. Adults are required to pay $100 and people 18 and Under only pay $30. CUNA presented a cheque worth $30,000 for the event, while Venture will pump $300,000 towards the event. Hayden Ferreira, president of the board of directors at Venture Credit Union, is satisfied with the growth of the event. “Within recent times the event has grown from that of a community sporting event to a national, regional and international sporting event. It is now one of the largest road races in Trinidad...the race has had tremendous growth over the years where we began with only 46 competitors. We now have 1,900 and hoping this year to have 2,000.”
Andre Goindoo, CEO of CUNA Caribbean Insurance, was glad to be involved again. “We are proud to be associated with this Fun Walk and 5K. We have been associated with this for so many years and I am so happy to see the challenge trophy named after my very good friend Mr Baxter.” The overall winners of the race will receive the Desmond E Baxter challenge trophy, a man who was one of the chief organisers of the event.