The decision to walk the 26.2 distance in the T&T International Marathon had a twofold motive–to raise awareness and funding for the 10 Olympic medals or more by the year 2024 #10golds24 athlete welfare and preparation fund.
Many have asked what I was thinking about when I decided to do the marathon. My main thought was the athletes and what could I do to raise awareness and support for the concept of a fund dedicated to athletes.
In the lead up to the marathon and since successfully completing the marathon the expressions of support have far exceeded the negatives.
Now the hard work will be to get the funding to match the expressions of support.
Raising awareness is not sufficient or good enough. This is not a one-and-done journey.
There will be many trials and tribulations, but what will prove essential is the spirit of resilience and perseverance.
I believe in the very core of my being that the talent we have here is enormous and that the reality is that many of our young athletes have greatness and the potential to be great inside of them.
What they need is the support and people around them who can nurture their self-belief.
I believe that our athletes are capable. I believe that this country can produce more Olympic champions.
Not everyone has to believe that it is possible. We just need a small band of determined and dedicated enablers who have the conviction that our young people deserve a chance.
During my walk, at one of the lowest points when I was hurting mentally, physically and emotionally, a little girl about eight or nine years old standing on the pavement near a water stop gave me a donation of $85 dollars. I recall looking at the little girl and at her donation and saying to Sgt Roger Daniel: "I have to finish." That little girl represented why I was doing the walk. She reminded me that the children, youth and young people as represented by the nation's athletes wanted to aspire for something greater.
It is a moment and an interaction I will never forget because it served to shake me out of a moment of self-doubt.
#10GOLDS24 is an affirmation that we can aspire and achieve big goals. It's a dare and a challenge. Do we have what it takes? Do we believe that we can achieve Olympic greatness?
That so many people have expressed their support is a clear indication that many of us have the self-belief that we deserve better than we are currently getting.
All that has happened over the years is that we were brainwashed into thinking that we didn't have what was required and therefore must be grateful for small mercies.
I enjoyed the walk. It was tough, but I enjoyed it.
The teamwork, the support, the camaraderie.
On two occasions I had to receive treatment for severe cramp but at no time did those walking with me suggest that I would have to quit.
Quitting just wasn't on the cards.
So where do we go from here? How do we build on the momentum of the successful completion of the marathon walk?
Time will tell. But rest assured there is no turning back.
#10GOLDS24 Athlete welfare and preparation is underway.
Donations are required on an ongoing basis and can be made at any Scotia Bank. The TTOC's account number is 171188 or by cheque made payable to TTOC and mailed to or dropped off at Olympic House 121 Abrecromby Street, Port-of-Spain.
Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.