News Releases

15th UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon

For Release Upon Receipt - October 27, 2018

St. Augustine

Set to be record-breaking year: T&T locals up against Kenya, Venezuela, Cuba and Colombia

Apart from a record number of 1,500 entries in this year's 15th annual signature UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon presented by First Citizens, another record that is likely to be erased is the men's course record of 1 hour 5 minutes 7 seconds set by Kenyan Ernest Kimeli since 2006. The race kicks off tomorrow, Sunday October 28 from 5:30am.

That is simply because of the pace-like-fire 33-year-old Kenyan Jairus Chanchima. He has a personal best half-marathon of 59 minutes 44 seconds clocked in Lille, France, and 2:07:43 at the 2012 Seoul Marathon.  There are four other athletes whose personal best times are faster than the course record: 2015 and 2017 UWI SPEC champion Richer Perez of Cuba, Venezuelans Pedro Mora and Didimo Sanchez, and Kenyan Joshua Too, the last three are running UWI SPEC for the first time. Pan Am Games Marathon gold medallist Richer Perez and 2018 Tobago Sea to Sea Marathon champion Pedro Mora both represented their countries at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon. The Venezuelans are bolstered by their 2018 National Marathon champion Alexis Peña who placed 4th here in 2016. The top local distance men in the lineup against the Olympians and Internationals include Matthew Hagley, Curtis Cox, Shirvan Baboolal, Anthony Phillip, George Smith, Richard Jones, Elvis Turner, Keanu Otero and Nicholas Romany.  Also in action is Guyanese-born Kelvin Johnson.  For the T&T runners this is also the NAAA National Half-Marathon Championships.


The female course record of 1:12:08 set in 2006 by Kenyan Jemima Sumgong, who went on to strike gold at Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon, may also be under threat with the entry of Purity Jeptoo Cheromei whose personal best is 2:10:22.  The Venezuelans will have a strong presence as they are represented by their 2018 National Marathon champion Zuleima Amaya and their Cross Country champion Nubia Arteaga Arpon. Venezuelan-born Colombian Raquel Palmenia Agudelo is the 2018 Tobago Sea to Sea Marathon champion.  Cecilia Mobuchon of French St. Martin, previously a dancer, is now one of the top distance runners in the Caribbean finishing 3rd in the 2017 Fort de France Half and 4th in the 2017 UWI SPEC Half.  Leading the way for T&T will be Celine Lestrade, Sjaelan Evans, Samantha Shukla, Dominique Martineau, Zinara Lesley, Chantal Le Maitre and Christine Regis.

Mental Health is the designated cause for this year's race, with contributions going towards charities Lifeline and Childline. Among the new elements of this year’s race are a four-part relay, as well as a tyre relay with a team of 20 completing the route.

Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, the Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe will experience running her first UWI SPEC Half on the traffic-free PBR course. UWI Chancellor, Mr. Robert Bermudez is also among this year’s participants. Pro-Vice Chancellor and UWI St. Augustine Campus Principal, Professor Brian Copeland will fire the gun to get the race underway at 5:30 am on Sunday in front of the UWI SPEC venue.




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, The 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, Social Sciences and Sport. The 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.)