News Releases

1,100 at 11

For Release Upon Receipt - September 12, 2014

St. Augustine

Runners for UWI half-marathon hit the road for the 11th edition of the race 

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – A field of 1,100 will face the starter for this year’s 11th edition of the UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon on Sunday 26th October at 5.30am.  Statistics show that this half-marathon – open to runners of all abilities – is now the most popular around the world. First Citizens will continue as presenting sponsor for the 2014 race.  

Defending champions Kenyan George Towett and T&T's Tonya Jacinta Nero will get their sternest test to date on local soil. 

Special Olympics is the designated charity for this year’s race and a Special Olympics relay will run alongside the race. 

Kenyan male distance runners have been crowned champions nine out of the ten years since the race inception.  This year the running machines from the Rift Valley of Kenya are set to collide with athletes from the land of Samba in a titillating contest, as Brazil makes its first appearance at UWI SPEC.  Four-time champion (2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013) George Towett will go head to head with the "Neymar" of road running, 26-year-old Daniel Chavez da Silva of Sao Paolo, Brazil, who clocked 1:03:19 at the 2013 Rio de Janiero Half-Marathon and set a 10K PR (personal record) of 28:47 last year. Also set to make his UWI SPEC debut is Kenyan Philip Lagat, the 2014 Cleveland Marathon champion in 2:12:39 and twice Run Barbados 10K champion.  Da Silva will be accompanied by Jose Magno Dos Santos who has a PR of 1:04 over the distance. The Venezuelan Athletic Federation has entered their national half-marathon record holder Luis Orta Millan who is enrolled at the University of Kentucky, U.S.A. and who is preparing for the CAC Games Marathon.  All five of these runners have run faster than Kenyan Ernest Kimeli’s 2006 course record of 1:05:07.  With the 5.30 am start this year and hence cooler race conditions, a new record could be witnessed. 

There are 23 seeded runners this year and they will each wear their name on their race number.  For instance, among the top local distance runners Richard Jones will have JONES imprinted on his race number, Curtis Cox will wear COX and Matthew Hagley returning from injury will carry HAGLEY.  Among the top Caribbean athletes entered are 4-time Reggae Marathon champion Rupert Green of Jamaica who placed 4th last year, Kirk Brown of Jamaica who was first among Caribbean runners at the 2013 Run Barbados Half-Marathon and 2014 OWTU Butler 20K champion locally-based Guyanese Kelvin Johnson. 

In the Female Open International category, T&T's 2012 and 2013 champion and national record holder Tonya Nero will come up against Kenyan Caroline Kiptoo and Brazilian Cruz Nonata da Silva.  Caroline Kiptoo is credited with a PR of 1:10.  She took a break to have a baby last year but is back in the swing of things this year placing second in 1:13:31 at the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (the USA’s biggest half-marathon with over 30,000).  40-year-old Cruz Nonata da Silva is the 2013 South American Cross Country 8K champion. She clocked 1:11:59 at the 2011 Rio de Janiero Half-Marathon and 2:32 at the 2012 Vienna Marathon.  Colombian Lineida Madeus Rojas is a University student in Puerto Rico and was the winner of the 2013 Guayana Half-Marathon in Venezuela in 1:16.  T&T'’s Janelle Nedd broke into the C.A.C. rankings last year due to her time on the UWI SPEC certified course and she is officially second only to Tonya Nero in the Caribbean.  The female course record of 1:12:08 was set in 2006 by Jemima Sumgong presently ranked No. 3 marathoner in the world after her 2:20:48 at the 2013 Chicago Marathon. 

Registration can be done at any First Citizens branch and will close on October 3rd, or earlier once the 1,100 limit is reached.   


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website: 

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)