News Releases

Brazilian Da Silva to defend UWI SPEC Half-Marathon Title

For Release Upon Receipt - October 2, 2015

St. Augustine

The countdown is on! With just three weeks to go, over 1,150 participants have registered for this year's 12th edition of the signature UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon. The race kicks off on Sunday 25th October at 5.30am. First Citizens continues as presenting sponsor of the event.

Daniel Chavez da Silva of Brazil will be returning to defend his title. Last year he clocked 1 hour 8 minutes 18 seconds to end the 10-year domination by African athletes with Kenyans accounting for nine of those victories.  Da Silva told reporters last year that he would like to win UWI SPEC for the next 10 years. In March this year he clocked 1:04:41 at the Rio de Janeiro Half-Marathon, and in May he ran 28:19 at the 10,000 metres in Sao Paolo.  He is looking to represent Brazil in the marathon at their home Olympics next year.

Of all the international athletes who have run this foot-race, perhaps none may have generated as much excitement as Caribbean marathoner Richer Pérez Cobas, the 29-year-old from Cuba who is the Pan American Games Marathon gold medallist (July 2015, Toronto) clocking 2 hours 17 minutes 4 seconds in hot, humid conditions to qualify for Rio 2016.  He is also the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) Games Marathon gold medallist (November 2014, Vera Cruz). He has a personal best for the half-marathon of 1:04:46.  Pedro Espinoza Perez will be the first elite athlete from Mexico to run UWI SPEC and he is a tough customer.  This year he has run a 2:19 marathon in March and a 1:06:06 half-marathon in hot Costa Rica in July.                  

Kenneth Rotich has won a few local road races on the trot including the Bankers Half in 1:06:58 and this will be his sternest test.  Five-time Reggae Marathon champion Rupert Green has twice run UWI SPEC, twice he has placed second and will again take no prisoners.  The other seeded men are Kirk Brown of Jamaica, Michael Biscette of St. Lucia, Guyanese-born Kelvin Johnson and Lionel Dandrade who will be in T&T Road Runners colours, and T&T's Richard Jones, Curtis Cox, Jules La Rode, Shirvan Baboolal, Kade Sobers and Elvis Turner.

Mexico-based Kenyan Caroline Kiptoo has confirmed that she will defend the female title that she copped last year in 1:16:53. For 2015, Kiptoo has already raced three marathons and three half-marathons.  Her best half-marathon time this year is 1:18:05.  She placed 7th overall last year but her hectic schedule this year and slower times could afford the women (as well as the men) a better chance against her this time around.

For 2012 and 2013 UWI SPEC female champion T&T's Tonya Nero, this year's race comes as she gears up for Rio 2016.  Just three months after UWI SPEC on January 22th, 2016, she will try to break 2 hours 43 minutes at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon to become the first T&T female Olympic marathoner. At the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon, she set a new national record of 2:43:14 but missed the Olympic qualifying mark by 14 seconds. 

Yailen Garcia will the first female elite Cuban athlete at UWI SPEC. She was the 2012 and 2013 Havana Marathon (HM) champion, and 2014 HM Half-Marathon champion (1:20:58). The local seeded women are Celine Lestrade, Christine Regis and Jenna Ross. This will be the second year that there will be random drug testing at UWI SPEC. Daniel Chavez da Silva, Rupert Green and Caroline Kiptoo were among the athletes last year whose urine samples were sent abroad for testing.

Registration for the race came to a close on September 28. For further information, log onto



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.)