Former TTOC president Brian Lewis during Sunday’s marathon walk which started and ended at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain. –
Former Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis are calling for more respect for the TT International Marathon.
The marathon was held last Sunday with a new course starting and ending at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. The participants passed through Port of Spain, then east on the Priority Bus Route (PBR) to Railway Road, Arouca, where they returned to Port of Spain.
St Lucian Jason Sayers and TT’s Shardie Mahabir were crowned winners of the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.
For yet another year, Lewis sought to raise funds for the 2024 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund, which is now the TTOC Gold Foundation. It was a gruelling test for Lewis who completed the marathon-walk journey in seven hours and three minutes.
Despite his personal challenge, Lewis questioned TT’s encouragement, support and appreciation of the annual race.
“A marathon is a very important event in terms of mass participation. In a number of countries marathons are welcomed such as the New York marathon, London marathon and Boston marathon,” Lewis said.
According to the ex-Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) president, the new journey had several problems. “I don’t know whether the issue was related to the Ministry of Works and Transport or the TT Police Service, but the marathon route had a number of challenges. Maxi taxis were still on the route. It is important that the marathon committee meet with the relevant authorities to review and rectify.”
Lewis said it was disappointing that the marathon, now in its 41st year, does not seem to have the full support of the authorities.
“They seem to consider it as a nuisance value in terms of whatever disruptions it may have rather than seeing it as an opportunity for sports tourism – an important tool to encourage people to be physically active and to be healthy. They should be encouraging it and we shouldn’t be facing these obstacles every year”
Despite the negatives, Lewis said there were lots of positive takeaways and the problems are fixable.
Lewis said he is already looking forward to next year, hoping there will be better support from all the relevant ministries and authorities. He was appreciative that his walking group overcame the hurdles faced to complete their mission of finishing the marathon.
Upon completion of the 26.2 mile trek, Lewis revealed that he was hospitalised at the St James Medical Complex owing to dehydration and heat exhaustion. Lewis said he was thankful for the treatment he received, and praised the doctors and staff.
“I’m well on the way to recovery, I learnt the important lessons to keep meticulous focus on dehydration during the course of the marathon.”