Running for charity
UWI SPEC half marathon celebrates a decade...
The UWI SPEC Half Marathon will host its tenth edition this year, with a number of changes made to commemorate the milestone.
The focus in this tenth year is giving, and ten persons were invited to champion ten charities and to encourage the public, as well as staff and students to pledge $10 towards one of these competitors, with their donations going towards a selected charity.
Pledges can come from groups, organisations, faculties or individuals in support of the marathon and its related charities. For every $10 received, 10 percent will go towards marathon funding and the rest to the named charity. Pledges will also be taken on the day.
According to organisers, this team, dubbed “The 10”, are not there just for their looks, but have completed a 12-week training programme, specially designed by UWI SPEC ahead of Sunday’s race day.
Registration will be open to the first 1,010 runners, and the race will get going a bit earlier, starting at ten minutes to six.
Today we meet five of the ten persons selected to represent charities for this special edition of the race (the other five were featured in yesterday’s Express):
Sterle Timothy is an MBBS student at The UWI, St. Augustine Faculty of Medical Sciences. She would have participated in the Half-Marathon even if she were not asked to be one of The 10, as she had missed it for two consecutive years. Sterle decided to run as one of The 10 because she figured she might not have another opportunity to support a charity in such a significant way, and on a national level. She chose to support SylPhil’s Home in Love as her church in her native Tobago is closely associated with the Home.
Stephen Sheppard is the fairly recently-appointed Director of the Human Resources Division at The UWI, St. Augustine Campus. He was invited to be one of The 10 and chose to accept and represent the University on this special occasion, given the charitable aspect of the Half-Marathon’s 10th anniversary. Mr. Sheppard thought it would be a useful way of achieving three objectives at once--representing the University, getting fit, and raising money for a good cause. He runs to support Habitat for Humanity, UWI Chapter, as he is on the board of directors
Kerrie-Kim Vaughn Kirton is a Marketing Officer at the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation. Kerrie enjoys the mental challenge of completing a distance race even more than the physical. He believes that these races test the mind as much as the body and likes to promote the health and strength of both. He is supporting the Keith Stanford Sobion Foundation, chosen because he wants to help promote education for persons at all levels. Having once dreamt of being a lawyer himself, he strongly supports helping university students fulfill their own dreams.
Renata Sankar is Ag. Communications Manager of The UWI, St. Augustine Marketing and Communications Office. She agreed to be one of The 10 as her office is a major arm of support for the event, and since, as a planner of events, she usually does not have the chance to be in the foreground. So she jumped at the chance to plan and run. Ms. Sankar’s chosen charity is the T&T Coalition Against Domestic Violence, selected because she believes in empowering women and saw the Half-Marathon as an opportunity to bring awareness to a cause she strongly supports.
Clement William Iton is the University’s Registrar, based at the UWI Mona Campus. Mr. Iton agreed to take part in the Half-Marathon at the request of the Director of the Sport and Physical Education Centre (SPEC), Mr. Justin Latapy-George. He has played all manner of sports before, but has never run a marathon, thus making the UWI SPEC Half-Marathon 2013 his first. Quite the sportsman, he played school football, participated in the inaugural CARIFTA Games, and still plays competitive tennis. Mr. Iton is championing his wife’s new charity, Arts Insight.
SylPhil’s Home in Love is the oldest home for displaced, abandoned and abused children on the island of Tobago. The SylPhil home was founded by Sylvia Phillips and is now managed by her daughter, Susan Phillips-Jacks. The Home is in the process of finishing a new residence for the children, which will have a greater housing capacity, as well as be in the children’s names. The funds raised by the Half-Marathon will assist the Home in this regard.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, Christian organisation focused on eradicating poverty housing and homelessness in Trinidad and Tobago through construction and repairs of houses and the promotion of policies to improve access to housing. The UWI Campus Chapter is an independent, student-led organisation that is built on the belief that young people can make a difference in society by building, fund-raising, advocating and educating their peers and the wider society. Habitat for Humanity relies on public donations for construction projects and operational support.
The Keith Stanford Sobion Foundation was established by the family of Mr. Keith Stanford Sobion Esq. HBM, who was a prominent legal figure in the region. The foundation promotes legal education within the Caribbean region through scholarships, prizes and bursaries. Mr. Sobion was deeply passionate about regional legal education and his family considers the endeavour as a way of giving something back. The Foundation will use Half-Marathon proceeds to support its main project, which is the yearly presentation of a prize to a Hugh Wooding Law School graduate in the spirit of promoting regional integration and education.
The T&T Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a coalition of associations working in the field of anti-domestic violence, and pro-peace in the family and the community. The Coalition assists members in carrying out their functions, and implementing public education programmes. The Coalition will use Half-Marathon funds to support the initiatives of its members, which include the Rape Crisis Society. The Coalition shares a space with the Society, which needs a furnished children’s counselling room, as well as a child-friendly waiting area for child clients or children who have accompanied parents to therapy.
Arts Insight is a new NGO that caters to differently-abled citizens, and focuses on advocacy for equality. It uses art as an avenue for personal expression and the development of creative products by giving persons with disabilities the skills necessary to create an opportunity to become self-reliant. The NGO has worked to further develop the use of Art Therapy as a path towards community healing. Contributions from the Half-Marathon will assist Arts Insight in its goal of having senior students of the Cascade School for the Deaf complete the Visual Arts CXC component.