Veteran marathoner Curtis Cox is urging racing officials to make changes that will help revive the discipline locally.
After the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM) on Sunday, Cox stated that organisers need to attract more local marathon runners and provide incentives to improve the quality of T&T’s current crop.
The 47-year-old, who won the TTIM in 2005, lamented that he was the first local to finish the race this year, having trained mostly for the half-marathon.
Only in the final three weeks, Cox decided to switch to the full marathon, where he placed seventh, clocking two hours, 48 minutes and 12 seconds.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful,” Cox said. “I just trained for the half-marathon and came back and finished in the top ten. That says something about marathon running in Trinidad. I’m hoping that the organisers can do something to revive marathon running in Trinidad so the locals will improve.”
Having seen the race dominated by Kenyan runners over the last decade—interrupted on a few occasions, including this year by Colombian Juan Cardona—Cox is hoping to see greater emphasis placed on locals.
“They’re supposed to have prizes for the locals only, incentives,” he said.
“Because last year, the first prize was $19,000, this year it was $15,000. So the prizes keep dropping every year and that is not good. It also had less participants in the marathon this year.”
One of the culprits, Cox felt, was the parallel running of the half-marathon with the marathon. Many runners who previously competed in the 26.2-mile marathon are now keener to run the shorter distance.
He feels the latter can be used as a December warm-up event to the full marathon.
Cox also revealed his decision to run the full marathon at a late stage was in honour of his friend and former training partner Dana Seetahal.
On Facebook yesterday, Cox indicated that it was Seetahal who took him to the start line in 2005, when he enjoyed his maiden win.
Seetahal, herself an avid marathon runner, was tragically gunned down in May last year.