IT was a dream debut in the TT International Marathon for St Lucian Jason Sayers as he claimed the men’s and overall title on Sunday in a race which started and ended at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
Sayers said this was just his second competitive marathon, after completing 26.2 miles for the first time in 2021 in Paris, France.
“I found the conditions were good. It was a little humid, but I made sure I stayed hydrated,” Sayers told Kairibelle Sports after the event.
The times were not confirmed up to press time.
Sayers, who runs for Golden Star in Martinique, said it was smooth sailing until the final few miles.
“The race for me was quite easy. Coming on the 21st mile I was pretty much coasting, but when you came to the last four miles I was experiencing some cramping, so I was taking it quite easy.”
Sayers, 49, had his challenges in the months prior the race.
“I started preparing for this race in September. I got dengue and I just came here and did my best.”
He said he wanted to clock a faster time but because of the cramp he did not want to push his body over the limit. He is hoping to compete in a race in Denmark in May.
Shardie Mahabir of TT claimed the women’s marathon title.
Winner of the men’s half marathon Colin Pereira of TT said, “I am happy with the win. The race was nice. I was running 5:50 (five minutes and 50 seconds) per mile for the first half and coming back up I did 5:40 per mile. (It was) nice weather, but I was just hoping the competition would have been better.”
Pereira stopped the clock in 1:12:31, followed by Elvis Turner in 1:13:48 and Keron Ali was third in 1:15:06.
He used Sunday’s half marathon as preparation for the National Championships in June, with his eyes fixed on the national 5000m record of 14:14 held by Ronnie Holassie. He said if he did not run the marathon on Sunday as he would have exerted himself too much.
Women’s half marathon winner Samantha Shukla clocked 1:25:22 to finish 14th overall.
Michelle Douven was second among the women in 1:45:20 and Esla Anthony rounded off the top three in 1:48:38.
Shukla said, “I am very pleased with the effort this morning. It was a training run for me and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the fact that God blessed us with great weather and I felt strong…I am looking forward to continuing to improve.”
Shukla said her next race will be in March, but her priority is representing TT.
“The ultimate goal is I want to keep improving, qualify for Central American and Caribbean Games 5,000 and 10,000m, God’s willing, and the World Road Running Championships.”
Walkers also competed in the race which took participants from the savannah to Arouca, before returning to the savannah.
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