ttroadrunners : news : runners
A series of interviews "Meet the Runners" by Debra Agong
Its marathon morning, January 29, 2006. Some runners are still crossing the finishline in front QRC while others, myself included, are either receiving massages, re-hydrating or simply enjoying the indescribable but unmistakable atmosphere that normally follows the completion of a marathon. TTRRC had a big team that year, and as the hours passed, each finisher was warmly greeted by fellow members who had already finished. After training together for four to five months, we all had an idea when each person would cross the line so when the clock struck 5:00hrs, we knew Dennise would be there soon, perhaps in another 30 mins.
To our surprise, at 5 hrs, 6 mins in sashayed Dennise with a big grin and a pep in her step which is quite unusual for anyone who had just completed the gruelling distance. She had done her third marathon and her best time yet. Years prior to that day, she had signed up for the ultimate physical challenge; the marathon. All she wanted was to complete one marathon and never do it again.
Fast forward to 2011 and Dennise, an entrepreneur and mother of two, is preparing for her sixth (6th) marathon, a place she never expected to be. Like many who are brave and committed enough to venture into the world of endurance sports, Dennise became hooked, not only because of the peace of mind and therapy that running brings, but because of the sense of camaraderie she feels as part of the TTRRC.
One particular incident that stands out for Dennise occurred one Tuesday afternoon, when coach Dexter Voisin had scheduled the dreaded “hill repeats” which was run at the bottom of Chancellor hill. The task was to run 400 metres up, taxing your lungs and legs, then turn and jog back to the start point. She was required to do this 8-10 times. Dennise was the slowest of the bunch so that when everyone was finished, she still had two more to go. As she took off for her second to last repeat, she was surprised but heartened and grateful to see that most of the group were either alongside or behind her, pushing her to the end. She had never felt that type of support in these types of activities.
Different people with different perspectives create an interesting dynamic within the club which she says she has never experienced in any other group to which she has belonged. As the sitting President of the Club, she admits that while the diversity of the membership sometimes presents tricky situations, when its all said and done, every genuine member of TTRRC has the club and their fellow members at heart. It is a family, a sometimes strange and puzzling one but a family none the less.
Dennise is still trying to get to that elusive 5 hour mark in her favourite race distance and vows to continue to work towards that goal. With the encouragement of her teammates, friends and family, she is confident that the day will eventually come.
Here are some more facts about Dennises' running career:
Q: When did you start running?
Q: Who or what prompted you to start?
A: Wanted to do a marathon before I turned 50
Q: How have you benefited from running?
A: I gained more confidence in general
Q: Many people fear the marathon and think they could never do it. What three qualities do you think are necessary to be a marathon runner?
A: Bravery, commitment and strength (mental)
Q: What is your favourite race to run locally and why?
A: Granny Lucess classic. Its fun, not too competitive and celebrates one of this country's legendary runners
Q: What is your most memorable experience as a participant in a race? (locally or abroad)
A: During a race I wore my racing sneakers for the first time(which you should never do). My feet were burning so I stopped to loosen them. An old man who was watching the race came over, bent down and loosened my shoes for me
Q: Do you believe group running is better than running solo or vice versa? Why?
A: Group running is definately better. Support is always good
Q: What do you think is/are the most common mistake(s) made by runners, especially novices.
A: Trying to run too fast too soon
Q: Has becoming a member of TTRRC benefited you? How?
A: I have received motivation and great information and running tips from experienced club mates
Q: What do you enjoy most about TTRRC?
A: the camaraderie and the range of opinions that are expressed about every topic, from politics to liming
Q: Would you advise other women to take up the sport? Why/why not?
A: Yes. It provides you with some 'me' time to clear your head, especially women with children or hectic jobs
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running?
A: Ignore everyone and just run
Q: What are your goals in the sport?
A: To keep running until I die
Q: What is/are your hope(s) for the sport of road running in Trinidad and Tobago?
A: That it will gain popularity and attract youth. Right now, most young people participate in track events or don't stay the course with road running. Road running plays second fiddle to track but those in authority as well as members of the running fraternity need to do their part to raise the profile of the sport.
Butler Classic 2010
(front 2nd left)
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