Tobago will host the first leg of the national Secondary Schools Track and Field (SSTF) middle-distance league, commencing with a cross-country race at the Mt Irvine Golf Course on Thursday.
The three-part series will include a cross-run on October 18, and conclude with a 5K road race at Bacolet on November 14.
The Trinidad secondary schools will have their cross-country race at the Queen’s Park Savannah on October 1, cross-run at Point Fortin on October 15, and 5K at Arima on November 26.
The Tobago events will begin at 10 am each day, and the races in Trinidad are scheduled to start at 3 pm.
President of the SSTF Joseph Brewster explained the focus of the initiative and the reason for having separate events on both islands.
He said, “It is a means of discovering new talent, pre-season training for athletes, getting more students interesting in distance running and adding to middle-distance development in Trinidad and Tobago.
“The executive took a decision to host separate events on both islands to facilitate participation for as many students as possible. The Tobago cross-run was held on a Sunday last year and over 200 students competed.
“This year, the events will be held during the school week, so we expect more students to participate.”
Along with students and teachers, the events will also feature an open category for members of the public. Prizes are on offer in all categories.
Tobago’s top distance athlete Elvis Turner, who is considering suiting up for the event, laments the lack of distance races on the island.
He said, “It is a good initiative by the SSTF, but Tobago need more road races. A few years ago there were a lot of races, but there has been a serious decline in Tobago road runners and events.
Turner, who was a top-ten finisher at the recent Chinatown 7K and Venture Credit Union 5K in Trinidad, added, “If you love distance running, you have to spend money and go to Trinidad to compete. There are races in Trinidad almost every weekend.
“Only the Rainbow Cup and Eastern Credit Union kept distance races in Tobago for the year,” Turner said.
For more info on the SSTF races, contact 771-0753 or visit the SSTF website at ttsstfa.com.