TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis said completing the 2020 TT International Marathon was his toughest to date, but the large support that he got pushed him to the end despite having to endure an injury along the course.
For a number of years, Lewis has walked the 26.2-mile event to raise awareness and funds for the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.
Support was key for this year’s walk as 2020 is an Olympic year with local athletes preparing for the Tokyo Games that starts in July.
Lewis said 50 t-shirts were initially printed for his supporters, but support grew as close to 100 people joined Lewis in the cause. Lewis completed the race in six hours, 59 minutes and 18 seconds, on Sunday.
Lewis, now in his late fifties, spoke with Newsday about the tedious journey from St Mary’s Junction, Freeport to Whitehall, Queen’s Park Savannah.
“The walk was successful in the sense of we had the most support we have had since we started the walk in 2015 and established the Team TTO ten gold by 2024 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.”
Some of the people walking with Lewis were Minister of Land, Agriculture and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat, Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds, captain Andy Cheekes of Caribbean Airlines, former TT boxer Ria Ramnarine and media personality/sports commentator Andre Baptiste.
“I must say for me it was the toughest year to compete because time wise it is the slowest time I have ever done in the marathon...it was about finishing.”
In the vicinity of Curepe, Lewis said he injured his left hamstring and had to be treated by Dr Rudy Ramsawack, who was walking alongside Lewis. Lewis, who was forced to stop, said, “At that point we were going pretty good to hit the target time which was around six hours and 15 minutes but after that it was a struggle because I had to be constantly treated for severe cramps. The pain was such that at one point in time I was in so much pain that I did not think I could continue, but of course you have to dig deep and then it became all about finishing and I had the support of the group around. The objective of the marathon walk is to raise awareness and funds for the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.”
Lewis said over the next few weeks the TTOC will follow up on the pledges which will determine how much money was raised for the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.