Chairperson of the T&T International Marathon Diane Henderson is challenging secondary schools and youth groups to come out in their numbers at the 34th edition of the event which takes place on January 16 and 17, in an effort to produce another Olympic athlete.

Next year’s event includes the marathon, marathon relay and a 5km race. At the event’s press conference yesterday at the T&T Olympic House on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, Henderson spoke about the marathon relay, a new edition to next year’s event. Henderson explained that each team can register up to six athletes, each running 7km of the 42.16km course (26.2 miles).

Henderson stated that the marathon relay is flexible, saying that it is not mandatory to register six persons. “These legs can be run with two persons if you don’t have six people. This gives an individual the opportunity to complete a half marathon because two people will run three legs each.”

One of the goal’s of next year’s marathon is to develop talented youngsters to reach their full potential. “We realise there are a lot of groups out there other than the main clubs that don’t have sufficient training access to coaches. We need to link these young groups to the coaches.”

Henderson believes that many young athletes simply use their natural ability. The marathon organiser wants to see the youngsters times improved so T&T can see another youngster reaching the Olympic level.

A special moment at next year’s race will be a tribute to Charles Spooner, an avid marathon runner who passed away earlier this year. Spooner’s granddaughter Chenelle is aiming to complete the marathon in memory of her grandfather. Henderson said the marathon committee will assist Chenelle with her goal, as the committee has asked an experienced distance runner to assist her with preparations for the race.

TTIM (T&T International Marathon), the marathon mascot, will make his debut next year. “He (TTIM) represents a bit of our culture, our pan and our colours. His legs has the pitch lake, several parts of our musical culture and national birds. We will bring TTIM alive in 2016. Look out for TTIM as a representative of the T&T International Marathon.”

More info

For more information visit, check ‘Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon’ on facebook or contact 757-7772/497-5598.