Akor goes for 7th title
New men's winner to be crowned in T&T Marathon
The 30th annual Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM), sponsored by KISS baking company, takes place tomorrow with last year's female champion Mary Akor going for her seventh title.
The 2013 race starts at St Mary's junction, Couva at 5 a.m. on tomorrow morning and finishes opposite White Hall at Queen's Park Savannah, in Port of Spain.
However the build-up to the marathon starts today with the KISS School's Relay from 3 p.m. and the KISS International 5K at 4 p.m. around Queen's Park Savannah.
Fatima College won the relay last year and will be competing again this year along with a dozen schools.
Last year's 5K winners were Kelvin Johnson and Alika Morgan. Johnson crossed the line in 15:36 to win the top overall male prize while Morgan finished the 5K in 20:02 to top the female competition.
Tomorrow, it will be the international marathoners who will take centre stage in the marathon and half marathon.
Close to 200 runners are expected to take part in the 26.2 mile event, while approximately 300 will lace up their shoes for the half marathon.
The half marathon starts at 5.45 a.m. at E-Tech Park, Caroni.
In 2012, Nigeria-born Akor was the top female runner in the marathon for yet another year and showed tremendous improvement, clocking two hours 54 minutes and 25 seconds which was more than 12 minutes better than her 2011 winning time.
She beat a pair of Kenyans, Judy Kimuge (2:56:53) and Monica Muthoni (3:09:59) into second and third, respectively.
Among the top female runners this year is Christine Regis who was fourth in the women's race in 2012, crossing the finish line in a time of 3.36:45.
Akor will also face hot opposition from Leah Kigen of Kenya, who is a previous winner of the Barbados Marathon.
There are also a few previous male champions taking part, including triple winner Kenyan-born Simon Sawe. Sawe won the title three years straight from 2008 to 2010 before his Kenyan countryman Paul Wachira won the race in 2011.
Last year's male champion who is also from Kenya Philemon Kipchilat, will not be taking part in the 2013 marathon.
Kipchilat made it six T&T International Marathon wins in seven years for that country when he stopped the clock at two hours, 28 minutes and 46 seconds but will not be taking part this time around.
Wachira, who was fourth last year in a time of 2:35.14, will also have to overcome top local runners including Curtis Cox as well as 2006 winner Hilary Lelai, another Kenyan.
But the top awards of US$3,600 will not be an easy to win. Colombian brothers Juan and Luis Cardona and Nigerian Muheez Aminu will also be added to the mix ensuring a competitive race. Juan Cardona has a best time of two hours 13 minutes 29 seconds which is more that 15 minutes faster than Kipchilat time last year.
There will also be incentives for the local runners to step up the tempo. Any local male or female runner who breaks the national record or fastest time by a national in previous local marathons will receive TT$6,000.
The sponsors, KISS baking company, will also award TT$1,000 to up to three local males and three local females runners between ages 16 to 29, who beat two hours 50 minutes and three hours 15 minutes respectively in Sunday's race.
For 2013, TTIM Committee will partner with the Special Olympics Organisation as the Charity aligned with the 5K event today. For every participant entered in the 5K, KISS will match TT$5 and the proceeds will go towards sending special athletes to train and compete in international events.