Brian Lewis

TIME TO BE HONEST: Brian Lewis

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) will spark off their 75th anniversary commemoration with their special edition T-shirts and participation in the 2021 Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM) that culminates Sunday.

Traditionally a fund-raiser for the TTOC’s #10golds24 Athletes Welfare and Preparation Fund, the TTOC Marathon Walk — in it seventh consecutive year — will maintain the typical course in an event that is being staged virtually this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

TTOC president Brian Lewis and a smaller group of supporters — last year the group numbered over 100 — will embark on their journey from the St Mary’s Junction in Freeport and finish in front of Whitehall, Port of Spain, for the 26.2 mile trek.

Lewis credited TTIM chairwoman Diane Henderson and her committee with persisting in staging the Marathon Festival in a virtual setting that includes four events: a five km, a half-marathon 13.1 miles), traditional marathon (26.2 miles) and an ultra-marathon (35 miles) distances.

Lewis said the Marathon Walk is an “ideal kick-off” for the TTOC’s 75th birthday year — to be hopefully themed on volunteerism in tribute to the volunteers who have contributed selflessly to the organisation since its inception. The TTOC will also endeavour to maintain the group to a manageable number to adhere to the country’s Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions.

Due to those restrictions, the TTOC is encouraging less in-person participation and for supporters to donate at the Scotiabank account #171188 and or at the Olympic House on Mondays or Fridays, the only days the office have been open since the advent of the Covid-19 guidelines in March 2020.

A limited amount of special edition T-shirts will be available on a first come, first serve basis for people who donate.

Lewis, also the president of the Caribbean Association of national Olympic Committees (CANOC), stressed the Covid-19 had caused disruption and a negative impact to not only sport but to people’s finances and health, suffocating the opportunity for volunteers to step forward.

And it was even more crucial to persist with the Marathon Walk not only because of the diamond anniversary milestone but because of the dedication of the country’s athletes.

“Our athletes who have already qualified and those on the verge of qualifying still. They have had to dig deep to remain and to continue to prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for Tokyo 2020,” Lewis said. “It has been incredibly uncertain and unpredictable, with some negative opinion in the context of hosting of the Games. So we have to fight back and do it for them.”

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