News Releases

Countdown is on to 6th UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon

For Release Upon Receipt - October 22, 2009

St. Augustine

Friday 23rd October is the last day to register for the 6th UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon, the only traffic-free race of its kind in the region, and the premier long-distance event. Race day is Sunday 1st November, less than ten days away. Top Trinidad and Tobago athletes such as Ronnie Holassie (1:10:00), Cox Curtin (1:11:45), Clarence   Tobias (1:16:53) and Jeffrey Holder (1:17:30)—and of course Lynette “Granny” Lucess—are already registered.


The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago will host the annual event, with over 1,000 local, regional and international athletes competing for over TT$135,000 in prizes, including specific categories for UWI students and staff. This year, local participants have the added convenience once again of registering at any First Citizens branch throughout Trinidad and Tobago by presenting valid picture identification and their registration fee.


This year, the Half-Marathon begins at the UWI SPEC from 6 a.m. with the 13.1 mile route remaining unchanged. The race will continue along the traffic-free Priority Bus Route (PBR) to the La Resource Junction in D’Abadie, before doubling back to the UWI SPEC.  The course will be complete with markers and water stops at every mile for the running convenience of the athletes from around the world including the Caribbean, USA, Latin America and Europe. A new team category has been introduced.  Teams must have a minimum of 15 athletes.  Team members are allowed to also enter in the individual categories. 


Top international female runners such as Kenyan Caroline Kiptoo (1:10:18), Nigerian Mary Akor (1:15:03), Venezuelan Alvarez Yeti (1:16:14) and Guyanese Alika Morgan (1:27:03) are already registered for the half-marathon, which has grown from 300 runners at its inception in 2004 to more than 750 runners last year. In 2008, three of the top 5 female overall winners were from Trinidad and Tobago. Local runner Shermin Lasaldo (1:27:46.8) came in less than one minute after the top female performer, Alika Morgan from Guyana (1:27:03.8). However, Lasaldo’s countrymates Christine Regis (1:31:17.9) and Leisl Puckerin (1:37:59.7) were not close to Jamaican Tanice Barnett (1:28:51.8), who ran an impressive third. Morgan, Lasaldo, Barnett, Regis and Puckerin are all registered for this year’s race.


Top international male runners such as Ethiopian Alene Reta (59:36), Kenyan Alfonsi Yatich (1:02:10), Vincentian Pamenos Ballantyne (1:07:46) and Kenyan Simon Sawe (1:12:07) have also registered for this year’s event. Among the top five male runners last year, four were from the Caribbean region. Ugandan Nicholas Kiprono (1:05:35.7) topped the field, beating Cleveland Forde (1:08:22.7) of Guyana’s second place performance by almost three minutes. Local favourite Pamenos Ballantyne of St. Vincent ran 1:08:53.3, while St. Lucia’s Zepherinus Joseph (1:09:16.5) took fourth place, holding off a strong performance from Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Jones (1:09:26.8). Ballantyne Joseph and Jones have already registered for this year’s race.


The 2008 race was also hotly contested by National Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA) runners, such as Jules La Rode (1:13:18.0), Elvis Turner (1:17:06.2), Neil Stewart (1:19:27.0), Nicholas Sookansingh (1:30:32.0) and Gaston Rosal (1:32:37.3). Brian Maynard (1:18:58.3) was the first UWI Student to cross the line. The National Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA) recognises the UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon as its official half-marathon championship. La Rode, Turner, Stewart are also registered for the 2009 race.


First Citizens is the presenting sponsor of the UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon. St. Augustine Campus Principal, Professor Clement Sankat, received a cheque for TT$350,000 from First Citizens, at an official media launch of the Half-Marathon, held at the Office of the Campus Principal on Wednesday 9th September, 2009.

This year’s race will be electronically timed by Odessey Timing Co and accredited by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF). Any records broken will be certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), and will be recognised worldwide.


To download photos from the UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon archives, click For more information, visit the UWI SPEC website at or call (868) 662-2002 Ext. 3771, 2660, 3556 or 3571 or e-mail


For more UWI News, click For UWI photos, click



About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.