On a day dominated by Africans, Tonya Nero stood as the lone local winner yesterday, taking the Trinidad and Tobago International Half-Marathon women's title.
Nero was impressive with a one hour, 19 minutes and six seconds clocking under a humid Port of Spain sky, finishing the half-marathon at the Queen's Park Savannah, opposite Whitehall.
More impressive was the fact that, of the 200-plus runners that started the event at eTech Park, Nero strode in fifth behind the eventual winner, Lionel Dandrade.
Dandrade clocked 1:12:47, beating fellow Guyanese Kelvin Johnson (1:14:35) into second. Curtis Cox, the 2005 marathon champion, was third in 1:18:14.
Overall, Roland Bartholomew was fourth, with Nero fifth and her brother, Sandino Nero a few seconds adrift in sixth.
Nero's (T) closest female competitor, Elizabeth Agostini, was second among the women in 1:44:35, while Juliet John-Sambrano (1:46:58) was third.
Nero (T), though, was not satisfied with her clocking.
"The time didn't go as good as I wanted it to but I put out my best effort and I feel good about it. I know I gave it my best," she told the Express, yesterday.
"The last couple of times I ran half marathon was in (conditions) close to winter, so it was humid today a bit, and even the road felt a bit different. Trinidad is just a different place (to the colder climates)."
The T&T distance runner explained that she used the event as training ahead of a marathon in Rotterdam (Netherlands) in three weeks time, where she will attempt to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
"The half-marathon was just a training session to see where I'm at right now, and how fit I am. The full marathon would have been too much."
Nero (T) hopes her good form will help encourage other T&T distance runners to work hard towards their goals, and said she is happy with every opportunity to represent T&T.
She also has a bit of fine-tuning to do before her next assignment, according to Nero.
"(After my run) today I'm close to it," the runner stated, "but I feel like I have to do more work and I hope the conditions are better in Rotterdam. I put in a good effort, but I feel like I need to do a little more."