The Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM) committee has announced a minor but necessary change to the course for Sunday's Marathon and Half Marathon.
The routes remain the same from the respective starts in Freeport and Caroni and until the right turn from Wrightson Road into Colville Street. However, when on Colville Street upon reaching the traffic lights at the junction with Ariapita Avenue, the course will turn left instead of right.
The runners will proceed west on Ariapita Avenue until the turn-round point just before Carlos Street. They will then go back eastwards along the avenue to the Colville Street/Ariapita Avenue traffic lights. Here the course will turn left back into Colville Street, north bound; then straight across Tragarete Road into Cipriani Boulevard, up to Queen's Park West and around the Savannah to the finish outside Whitehall.
This new route reduces the number of turns in Port of Spain which has slowed the elite runners in the past, and it eliminates the run through the centre of town on a Sunday when there are few people around to motivate tired runners. On the other hand, persons taking breakfast, brunch or a Sunday morning lime along Ariapita Avenue, between Colville Street and Carlos Street, will get a good view of the runners as they transit up and down the Avenue.
The Marathon and Half Marathon will be staged this Sunday. The Marathon starts at five a.m. at St Mary's Junction, Freeport.
The 26.2-mile race is expected to be very exciting this year. Last year's male winner, Paul Wachira of Kenya, will be challenged by three other Kenyans—Philemon Kipchilat, Stephen Tanui and Phillemon Kemboi. Also in the field and with a good chance of winning are course record holder Pamenos Ballantyne of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago national record holder Ronnie Holassie.
In the ladies race, winner for the last three years, Nigerian-born American Mary Akor will have her work cut out to hold off the Kenyan duo of Judy Kimuge and Monica Muthoni. T&T's Kema McShine is also expected to compete.
The Half Marathon starts at 5.45 a.m. at Etech Park, close to Walker Park, in Caroni.
The TTIM weekend festival of running will start at three p.m. on Saturday with a schools relay around the Queen's Park Savannah. The TTIM 5K is scheduled for four o'clock.
Registration for the Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K is still possible at Kenny's Sports Centres, up until Friday. Schools wishing to compete in the relay on Saturday afternoon should call 758-6807. For other marathon enquiries, call 757-7772, 354-5600 or 707-1660.
Meanwhile, Island Hikers are using the 30th edition of the T&T International Marathon to promote awareness of Trinidad's natural environment.
On Sunday, the group of 50-plus hikers, led by Mario Russell and Dan Jaggernauth, will carry their traditional backpacks and walking sticks, and will be dressed in hiking boots and caps.
Hikers who frequently visit the forest are aware of the riches of our land and are simply saying protect our mountains, rivers, beaches and wildlife for the benefit of future generations.
Island Hikers and other non-competitive walkers will start the marathon at 3.30 a.m.