PRESIDENT of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Diane Henderson and other stakeholders said in an effort to grow the TT International Marathon all hands need to be on deck as the event is not considered a marquee one by most.
Approximately 60 runners competed in the 2023 marathon last month excluding walkers.
It was not the largest turnout in the event, but the organisers said a number of factors may have contributed to this.
At a media conference on Monday at the TTOC headquarters at Woodford Street in Port of Spain, Henderson said, “We always look to try to improve everything. The first and the most important part is the closed course. We did not get it, but we strive for it and we will continue the talks early so we could try to get that sealed.”
The TT Marathon has been around for 41 years and Henderson said there is no reason why the course should not be closed to allow the runners to feel safer.
“If the authorities want to see this race as a tourism (event), a destination event, then why not (close the course)?”
TTIM committee member Francis Williams-Smith said, “One of the things that matter for an international marathon is prize money and prize money has to do with US dollars and we in TT are very cognizant of the fact that they have currency restrictions and there is big challenge in creating a situation where we could afford the prize money for the foreigners who come and expect that…that is contingent on sponsorship. We have to get corporate TT more involved in the support for the marathon quite apart from the Ministry of Works (and) Transport and the Police Service.”
Some of the runners who competed in the marathon last month also asked questions about improving the event.
Henderson said the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) has been trying to grow the interest in long distance running.
She said, “The NAAA has a responsibility to develop and broaden runners…I am pleased to hear that the NAAA did have a workshop in collaboration with +One a Week and this was focused on distance running. I was really supportive of that and I like the direction they are going and I hope that there will be more workshops, more training and more opportunities for young people to get involved in distance running.”
Henderson said the TTOC is working with the Ministry of Sport and Community Development to get more people involved in sport.
Former president of the TTOC Brian Lewis also reiterated the point that the TT International Marathon “does not get the respect it deserves.”
Henderson thanked those who have supported the race over the years including Blue Waters, KISS, Starbucks, Stamina Energy, Namdevco among others.
Many of the marathon and half marathon participants attended the media conference on Monday to collect their awards including Errol Jones, Susannah Joefield, Monique Sampson and Nigel Simon.