News Releases

UWI SPEC 2023 International Half-Marathon Celebrates Triumphant Return with Record Participation

For Release Upon Receipt - November 23, 2023

St. Augustine


 Well Done!: Deputy Principal of the UWI, Prof. Indar Ramnarine congratulates Nicholas Romany as he crosses the finish line at The UWI SPEC International Half Marathon on Sunday 19th November 2023.

St. Augustine, November 23, 2023The UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon, a fixture on the international calendar of long-distance running, marked a spectacular return this year for its 17th edition, coinciding with the 75th Anniversary of The University of the West Indies. The race, embodying the theme “A Sound Mind and a Healthy Body,” welcomed over 1,800 participants from 21 countries, as a true indication of the half-marathon's global appeal.

 The highlight of The UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon was the outstanding performances, particularly in the top categories. T&T national, Nicholas Romany came out victorious, leading the pack with the time of 01:11:43, closely followed by Alex Ekesa of Kenya and Tafari Waldron (T&T). Collin Pereira and Christopher Mitchell completed the top five males, showcasing remarkable endurance and speed.

 In the women's category, Cécilia Mobuchon (France) stood out with her excellent performance, leading the female runners with a time of 01:18:47, setting a standard for future participants. Other females with strong finishes who copped the second and third spots respectively were Trinidadian Samantha Shukla and Chantel Le Maître (T&T). With participants hailing from Canada, China, Columbia, France, South Korea, Mauritius, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Sweden, the US, UK and many of our Caribbean neighbours, thereby showcasing a vibrant mix of endurance and athletic prowess.

 This year’s race, which is officially recognized by the National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAATT), took runners on a 13.1-mile secure, traffic-free journey starting and ending at The UWI SPEC on Circular Road in St. Augustine. The course, certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), stretched along the Priority Bus Route, offering athletes a challenging yet scenic route. AIMS is the body that certifies international long-distance runs. With certification, the results are recognized and included in the world standings.

 In an exciting development, the 2023 edition of the half-marathon introduced a 5K race, widening the scope of participation and embracing a more diverse group of athletes and running enthusiasts. This expansion not only brought fresh energy to the event but also underscored the inclusive spirit of the half-marathon. George Smith triumphed in the 5K race with a time of 17:21, and equally noteworthy were the race's most senior and junior participants, Norma St. Rose (80 years), and Liam Narine (10 years), both of whom demonstrated determination and spirit that inspired in their participation. In addition to the main competition, the 5K also celebrated the triumphs of participants in the wheelchair category, with Gerard Asyn leading the charge with a time of 1:24:27. For Special Olympics, Antonio Sorzano completed the course in 2:19:05 and took home the top prize, while Para-Athlete Kester Joseph showcased his determination by finishing in 1:56:14.

 The global reach of The UWI SPEC International Half-marathon was amplified through its live stream on the St. Augustine Campus’ Facebook page, allowing virtual spectators from around the world to partake in the excitement. This digital engagement brought international attention to the event, further solidifying its position on the global stage.  The UWI SPEC International Half-marathon comprised seventeen (17) categories, ranging from Open/International to special categories such as Wheelchair Athlete and Team and Club category. These categories highlighted the diverse talent and spirit of the participants, showcasing exceptional performances across various age groups and abilities.

 Emphasizing The UWI’s commitment to holistic education, this year’s half-marathon played a crucial role in supporting our scholarships for deserving students. Reflecting on the event's success, Dr. Anand Rampersad, Head of St. Augustine Academy of Sport commented, “This year's International Half-Marathon not only showcased exceptional athletic talent but also embodied our commitment to promoting a healthy, balanced lifestyle. The remarkable participation from all over the world and the introduction of the 5K race have taken this event to new heights. It is heartening to see our community come together to celebrate fitness, endurance, and the spirit of competition.”

 After a three-year hiatus caused by the global disruption brought about by the pandemic, “The UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon is back, not only to reclaim its position as a pivotal event on the international distance racing calendar but to also reinforce The University’s ethos of fostering physical and mental well-being,” were the encouraging words of Ms. Grace Jackson, Coordinator, Sports & Outreach Unit and Race Director.

 The enthusiastic participation and community support mirrored the event’s success, setting a high standard for future editions.


Numero Uno: Nicholas Romany raises a finger as he celebrates his victory at The UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon on Sunday 19th November 2023.


 Total Joy: French runner Cécilia Mobuchon in a celebratory mood after crossing the finish line as the female winner of The UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon on Sunday 19th November 2023.

  About The University of the West Indies

 The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region for the past 75 years.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

2023 marks The UWI’s 75th anniversary. The Diamond jubilee milestone themed “UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising.” features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University.

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