The day for entries in the sixth UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon, the only traffic-free race of its kind in the region takes place tomorrow. Race day is Sunday. Top T&T athletes such as Ronnie Holassie (1:10:00), Curtis Cox (1:11:45), Clarence Tobias (1:16:53) and Jeffrey Holder (1:17:30), and of course Lynette (Granny) Lucess, are already registered. The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus in T&T will host the annual event, with over 1,000 local, regional and international athletes competing for over $135,000 in prizes, including specific categories for UWI students and staff.
This year, local participants have the added convenience once again of registering at any First Citizens branch throughout the country by presenting valid picture identification and their registration fee. This year, the Half-Marathon begins at the UWI SPEC from 6 am with the 13.1 mile route remaining unchanged. The race will continue along the traffic-free Priority Bus Route (PBR) to the La Resource Junction in D'Abadie, before doubling back to the UWI SPEC. The course will be complete with markers and water stops at every mile for the running convenience of the athletes from around the world including the Caribbean, USA, Latin America and Europe. A new team category has been introduced. Teams must have a minimum of 15 athletes. Team members are allowed to also enter in the individual categories.
Top international female runners such as Kenyan Caroline Kiptoo (1:10:18), Nigerian Mary Akor (1:15:03), Venezuelan Alvarez Yeti (1:16:14) and Guyanese Alika Morgan (1:27:03) are already registered for the half-marathon, which has grown from 300 runners at its inception in 2004 to more than 750 runners last year. Top international male runners such as Ethiopian Alene Reta (59:36), Kenyan Alfonsi Yatich (1:02:10), Vincentian Pamenos Ballantyne (1:07:46) and Kenyan Simon Sawe (1:12:07) have also registered for this year's event. First Citizens is the present sponsor of the event. St Augustine Campus Principal, Professor Clement Sankat, received a cheque for $350,000 from First Citizens, at an official media launch of the Half-Marathon, held at the Office of the Campus Principal last month.
This year's race will be electronically timed by Odessey Timing Co and accredited by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF). Any records broken will be certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), and will be recognised worldwide.