Abijah Phillip of Team Republic Bank Limited (RBL) won the One Lap Savannah, the opening event, at the 30th CariFin (Caribbean, Financial Institutions) Games last Wednesday.
He crossed the finish line in a time of 15 minutes and 48 seconds ahead of team T&T Mortgage Finance's (TTMF) Corey Joseph-Samaroo, who took second spot in 15.52 while another RBL team member Jervon Jack placed third in 17.23.
“It was a great experience coming out and seeing all the people who I haven’t seen in such a long time - the fun, family and friends is the very present in the event. Running again was exciting and I’m looking forward to what comes in the 1 Mile - Sand Track!” said Phillip after the race.
On Wednesday at approximately 5.15 pm - with a bright sunset shining in the western skies after the heavy lunchtime rains, teams representing the financial services sector toed the starting line for both the walking and running events as they embarked on approximately 2.28 miles around the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, to bring glory to their institutions and to themselves.
The runners began the race being led by Curtis Cox, four-time cross country champion and CariFin legend.
It was a competitive one, with Joseph-Samaroo taking an early lead for a good part of the race before he was overtaken around NAPA by the 2016 champion Phillip. The eventual winner was able to hold on to that position and win with a four-second lead, ahead of Joseph-Samaroo.
“Congrats to Abijah on his run. Things didn't go according to plan for me but that's how races go sometimes. I'm confident going into the 1 Mile and it should be a fast race!” said Joseph-Samaroo after the race.
Filling the next two spots were Christopher Bascombe (RBL) in fourth place with 18.53 and Nigel Edwards, General Manager of the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC), fifth with a time of 19.45.
Members of the financial services sector were pumped and excited to come out and be part of the one Lap Savannah event. The in-person experience of the Games was missed for the last two years. This was demonstrated in the interactions and engagements amongst the teams.
The CariFin Games are events put together to encourage and support members of the financial services sector to take personal responsibility for their health and fitness, encourage friendly rivalry and camaraderie, networking, and building friendships.
“After the two-year hiatus, it was clear that participants were excited to come together again. Returning to the in-person event was equal parts exhilarating and nostalgic. Although the event was scaled down, the energy felt at the Savannah One Lap was electrifying," said Michelle Williams Brewster, Manager, Employee Engagement, RBL.
"Republic Bank continues to be committed to the Carifin Games and we look forward to the upcoming events.”
In the women's category, 2016 CariFin cross country winner Adona Francois of Sagicor grabbed first place for the first time with 22.18. Leigh-Ann Benjamin representing team UTC finished in 23.10 to place second, with another UTC employee Elizabeth Alexander pulling in third in 24.52. TTMF members Danielle Degannes and Charmine Dookie filled both fourth and fifth places respectively, in 25.01 and 25.09.
In the walking category, it was a total domination by Team RBL taking all top 10 places. For the men, it was Kenion Williams coming in first in 29.29 and second and third spots occupied by Darren Ramcharitar and Baldath Ramkissoon with times of 31.09 and 31.16, respectively.
Among the women, Kadesha Charles lead the charge in 31.51 followed by Vanessa Carberry and Trudy Darmanie-Joseph in 32.22 and 33.27.
The guest speaker for the evening was Russell Smith, secretary general of the American Chess Confederation, and an International Arbitrator, who spoke on the importance of personal fitness in all types of sports be it mental like in chess or physical like in running.