News Releases

Kenyan George Towett going after 5th victory in Sunday’s 11th UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon

For Release Upon Receipt - October 24, 2014

St. Augustine

New 5:30am start time expected to yield better all-round performance

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – George Towett of Kenya will be going after his 5th victory on Sunday in the 11th UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon which will have an earlier 5:30 a.m. starting time. Standing in his way will be his fellow Kenyan Philip Lagat fresh from victory in the Des Moines Marathon (Iowa) last Sunday where he set a new course record as well as a personal record (PR) of 2 hours 12 minutes 19 seconds. Also looking to wrest the title from Towett are a pair of Brazilians, Daniel Chavez da Silva (PR of 1:03 in the Half) and Jose Magno Dos Santos (PR of 1:04), whose ambitions are to represent Brazil in the marathon at their home Olympics in Rio de Janiero.

Out of Jamaica come Kirk Brown who was the top Caribbean runner at last December's Run Barbados Half- Marathon and 4-time Reggae Marathon champion Rupert Green who placed 4th in last year's UWI SPEC.  Pamenos Ballantyne of St. Vincent has spurned other race invitations just to run UWI SPEC as he too has one eye on Rio 2016. Among the local distance runners entered are Curtis Cox, Jules La Rode, Suriname-born Guillermo Udenhout, Cantius Thomas, and Tobago Falcons trio Kade Sobers, Elvis Turner and Lyndon Bacchus.

Wichita State University graduate Samantha Shukla will be looking for a personal record having clocked 1:32 here four years ago while a student of St. Joseph's Convent P.O.S., before departing on her track scholarship. 40-year-old Cruz Nonata da Silva will arrive here as the Brazilian National 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres champion from their recent championships. Caroline Kiptoo of Kenya clocked 1:15 to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon. Lineida Mateus Rojas of Colombia in the latest C.A.C. Rankings is ranked 16th in the 5,000m and 18th in the 10,000m.  From the French island of Guadeloupe come 24-year-old twin sisters Christelle and Christina Laurent.

This year's UWI SPEC is the largest ever with 1,200 entered.  They will swell the traffic-free PBR between St. Augustine and La Resource. Along the course, there will be pan, tassa and African drumming courtesy the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism. Wheelchair racers will get their day in the sun. There is also a relay for Special Olympics athletes within the main race.  Well-known physically challenged athlete Dwight Yearwood will run the full 13.1 miles. 90-year-old Charles Spooner is the oldest runner in the race.  The retired Lynette "Granny" Lucess will be a guest at the finish line.

The race will be streamed live on



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.)