GUYANESE DISTANCE runner Kelvin Johnson won the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM) in a time of two hours, 55 minute and 33 seconds on Sunday.
Johnson was among a selected group of 27 athletes who qualified to physically cover the 26.2-mile marathon distance over a four-lap circuit along the Chaguaramas bicycle path.
Tobagonian Elvis Turner finished second in 2:58.50 while former TTIM champion, veteran Curtis Cox was third in 3:25.22.
Meanwhile, Polish distance runner Ryschard Ellert completed the course in 4:59.36. Ellert is a marathon globetrotter and Sunday’s TTIM was his 130th marathon in his 99th country. In the women’s division, Shardie Mahabir topped the small field in 3:38.51. Securing runner-up spot was Chantel Le Maitre in 3:40.00 while Alana Lee Wo rounded off the top three finishers in 4:16.47.
Additionally, TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis completed his eighth consecutive 26.2 mile marathon/walk in six hours and 59 minutes on Sunday.
Lewis and a small group of supporters began the traditional TTIM trek from St Mary’s Junction, Freeport at 2.35 am and arrived at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain finish line at 9.34 am.
Since the TTOC’s Athlete and Welfare Preparation Fund was launched in December 2014, Lewis joined forces with the TT International Marathon (TTIM) to host a marathon/walkathon to help raise funds for Olympic athletes.
He has covered the challenging distance annually since 2015. This year however, will be Lewis last marathon/walk as TTOC president since his second four-year term comes to an end in April.
Lewis said the 2022 journey was tougher than previous editions.
“It was tough. We originally wanted to start at 2 am but due to circumstances beyond our control we started at 2.35 am. We wanted to avoid the heat and humidity. Between Barataria and Morvant Junction in particular, was particularly challenging for me,” he said.
Although his legs began to wear, Lewis was fuelled by his support team to keep pushing on to complete the distance.
He credited Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat, sports journalist Andre Baptiste and boxing promoter Bharat Ramoutar of Fine Line Fight Factory, among others, for inspiring him to keep going.
“It was the first time I actually thought that I couldn’t make it (the full distance). I was a little tired but I got some encouragement from my team. I was determined to finish,” Lewis added.
When asked if this would be his final marathon/walk, Lewis responded, “We’ll see.”
He continued, “The motivation is always for the athletes, youth and young people. Not only did we raise awareness about the fund, but also to encourage people to get active.”
Among his team was Rambaharat, Baptiste, Ramoutar, Republic Bank Limited managing director Nigel Baptiste, former sports broadcaster Roger Sant, elderly and disabled activist Anton LaFond and former national rugby player Curtis Nero.
Participants of the TTIM’s traditional Freeport to Queen’s Park Savannah were again prohibited this year owing to pandemic restrictions. They however, were allowed to complete the distance, in one attempt, virtually.
Ramoutar though, did both the virtual distance and also joined Lewis on his trek on Sunday.
“Last week I did the virtual marathon and did a very nice time, three hours and 37 minutes. Brian Lewis is always trying to do something positive for the athletes and country so I had to come out and support him once more.
“The weather was nice and the going was good early on, but the second part was a bit tough because the sun came up and the temperature went up. But we planned for it, hydrated properly, all in an effort for the athletes,” Ramoutar said.