KENYAN-BORN Mexican Stephen Njoroge is eyeing a hat-trick of titles when the 38th edition of the TT International Marathon (TTIM) is held, on Sunday.
The marathon will start at St Mary’s Junction, Freeport at 5 am and end at the Queens Park Savannah, in Port of Spain. The course will traverse the Southern Main Road towards the Churchill Roosevelt Highway using the new traffic light crossing. At the Curepe junction runners will turn left and proceed onto the Priority Bus Route providing a safe and traffic free course to South Quay.
According to a press release from the TTIM, a number of top athletes have signed up to compete in this year’s event. Njoroge, the 2018 and 2019 winner, wants to make it a three-time win in an attempt to catch Vincentian Pamenos Ballantyne (seven wins) and Tobago’s Michael Alexander (four wins).
However, Stephen Tanui, the sixth place finisher in 2013, is coming back much stronger and hopes to show that at 37 he is still a contender. Leah Kigen, another Mexico based Kenyan, now 40 and winner on five occasions between 2013 and 2018, is excited to face the starter.
However, she will have to compete against other top women’s contenders such as Colombian Palmenia Berrio, Grace Kahura of the US the 2019 winner and a fellow Kenyan in Everline Atancha. Sjaelan Evans hopes to come home as the first local woman again, while experienced runner Curtis Cox has once again put his foot in the ring coming off several successful training days. It is uncertain if defending local men’s champion Cantius Thomas will compete.
Slower runners and walkers will start at 3.30 am and among these will be Assemblyman Jomo Pitt Secretary of Sports and Youth Affairs, Tobago House of Assembly and president of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis.
For 2020, a Military Challenge Trophy will be up for grabs as members of the Coast Guard will cover the 26.2 miles with weights on their feet. This will act as military training as TTIM partners with our services to ensure that they stay fit and able to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities. To assist in raising awareness for important topics, the TTIM Marathon Committee has partnered with two organisations to raise funds for charity in 2020 – #teamTTO Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund and Can Bou Play Mental Health.
Following the 2019 event, road announcer Ronald Balkaransingh, who gave his services selflessly and passionately died. The TTIM will remember him and his dedication as they appreciate all volunteers who give of their time for sport.
The Festival of Events will commence with the TTIM Kiss National 5K at 4 pm on, Saturday. It starts at the top of Dere Street (around the Queen’s Park Savannah). Among the starters will be Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe. The Pink Reign Campaign will join in this year’s Kiss National 5K as they continue to inspire young women towards empowerment. The 5K will be followed by the TTIM Savannah Relay at 6.30 pm at the Queens Park Savannah, opposite Whitehall.
The organisers of the event thanked the sponsors of the 2020 Festival of Events – Ministry of Sports, Tourism Trinidad, National Lotteries Control Board, Kiss, Blue Waters, Subway, Gatorade and the TTOC for their continued support and collaboration in the realisation of such an event. The marathon committee also thanked All Sport Promotions for coordinating the event.