The T&T International Marathon (TTIM) is on Sunday. It's number 37. Founder of the T&T marathon, Raffique Shah is credited as starting the local edition of the endurance event in 1983. Then known as the Mirror Marathon, the 26.2-mile run captured the imagination of the nation back then and for many decades after.
The marathon had not only runners but also spectators out in the dawn hours. The route was a 26-mile gathering and liming spot. The dreaded refrain for the middle of the pack and recreational participants was: "Granny coming" (referring to iconic local figure Lynette "Granny" Luces).
But for many during those years the marathon became just as Christmas, Eid, Divali and Carnival, eagerly anticipated. At its peak, the T&T marathon may have had about 1,200 runners. Shah may have exact information.
Given the impact that the marathon had on road-running in the twin Island republic, I am also confident the marathon would have inspired and motivated many participants who may never have considered themselves athletic to pursue an active lifestyle with running becoming a positive lifestyle habit.
There are now Trinbagonians taking on the challenge of participating in the various marathons around the globe. Some have even felt confident to take on the iron man event.
One can sincerely hope that the history of the marathon is not lost and undocumented. It's a story that is worthy of sharing. Shah and all those who worked tirelessly with him to build the marathon and the foundations of the local version their effort carries valuable lessons for us all.
Even as the local marathon's participation numbers have dwindled to below 200, St Mary's junction in Freeport to Whitehall, Queens Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, the test of mental fortitude has endured and remained resilient.
Current TTIM chairperson Diane Henderson and her committee are endeavouring to overcome difficult circumstances. It's not easy. There are more vehicles on the roads of T&T, but none of the problems is unsolvable.
So here we are in 2019, marathon day is almost upon us. When the starter sends both the walkers off at 3.30 am, and the runners at 5 am, reaching the Queens Park Savannah will be the objective, and it will be no different from any other marathon anywhere else in the world.
Each participant will during the 26.2-mile journey ask his or herself why? The answer can only come from deep within. The extrinsic motivation will help, but it's the inner self, runners and walkers, will call on. Can I make it to the finish line? The answer will come from within.
The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Team TTO marathon team will for the fifth year take on the marathon challenge to raise awareness and funding for the #10golds24 athlete welfare and preparation. Contributions can be made by cheque to the TTOC or directly to Scotiabank account number 171188. For further information email, firstname.lastname@example.org.