Running in Trinidad and Tobago
By John Lum Young
About the author:
John Lum Young, a financial accountant, is 56, and was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago. He is a member of Marathon Maniacs and Marathon Globetrotters, and has run 67 marathons in 24 countries. His goal is to complete a marathon in 50 countries!
Trinidad and Tobago, the most southerly islands in the Caribbean archipelago, constitutes one country. The average temperature throughout the year is about 32°C although January is the coolest month for running. Because of the tropical temperatures runners usually train in the early morning and evening.
There is no National Running Club, but there are many Running Clubs in T & T that support track racing and only a few that represent road running. Running Clubs offer social events as well as running/racing. Clubs do organize races for members but there are no competitive races between clubs. Annual fees range from free to $30 US per year.
Road running is more popular in Trinidad & Tobago than trail running. That said, the Fusion adventure races (a series 3 or 4 races in one day totaling about 18-20 miles in the forest) are popular. The Fusion XI was held in May this year. These races start about 2-3am and finish about 7pm. It is a team event, 4 persons per team and there are over 100 teams. See http://fusionadventurerace.com for pics. Also http://www.facebook.com/FUSION-Adventure-Races-82820544550/
The two oldest races in the country both started in 1983 and have been held annually since then.The Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon http://ttmarathon.com is generally held on the last Sunday in January and is the oldest marathon in the Caribbean. It is a point to point run starting in St Mary’s Junction and finishing in Port of Spain, the capital city. There is also a marathon relay. The course is flat. The road is not closed to traffic but the Police assist in managing road crossings along the way. Currently this marathon attracts about 100 runners.
The Butler 20k Classic is the other race which commenced in 1983 and is held each year on June 19th (Labour Day in T&T). This point to point race starts in San Fernando (the 2nd largest city) and finishes in Fyzabad. The course is undulating and not closed to traffic. This race attracts about 100-150 runners.
The inaugural Sea to Sea Marathon http://www.seatoseamarathon.com was held in May 2016 and the sponsors have pledged to make this an annual event. This is a point to point race starting in Main Ridge, the oldest forest reserve in the world, established in 1776, and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and ending in Lambeau. This is a tough hilly marathon. Roads are open to traffic. The inaugural marathon attracted about 80 marathoners. The pace of life in this island is slow and very laid back. Ideal for relaxation. The next race will be on the 3rd Sunday in May. Race weekend also include 5k, 10k and Half Marathon.
The UWI SPEC International Half Marathon http://sta.uwi.edu/spec/marathon/ which began in 2004 is the best organised race in the country, held on the last Sunday in October attracting 1000+ runners. The race course is an out and back one closed to traffic. It is flat and fast. The race is held at the Sports faculty of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus.
Short distance races such as 5Ks are very popular in T & T with more than 3,000 runners at some races.
Races are held throughout the year and entry fees are about $25 to $30 US.
The best website for local races in T & T is: http://www.ttroadrunners.org/race/2016/index.html
Many thanks to John for this sixth article in the series about running cultures in countries around the world! Feedback would be appreciated on which other countries readers are interested in learning about?