Tremendous support for the MSCD #GirlsRunTT Challenge

Due to the tremendous support shown by women and girls across Trinidad and Tobago who registered to participate in the Ministry of Sport and Community Development’s (MSCD) “GirlsRunTT Challenge,” the MSCD was inspired to increase its sponsorship from one hundred and twenty (120) to three-hundred and forty (340) female runners. This level of enthusiasm sends a resounding message that the pandemic has not stifled the willpower of women and girls across Trinidad and Tobago and there still is a healthy interest in participating in physical activities and sports among women and girls of all ages and backgrounds.

On Friday March 26, 2021, the Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Community Development, was joined by Bafasports’ founder, Nigel Bellamy, Mr. Gabre Mc Tair, Director of Physical Education and Sport, and Abbinah Donatien, granddaughter of the  late ‘Granny’ Lucess  to discuss final arrangements for the expanded sponsorship for the #GirlsRunTTChallenge. The Challenge consists of a suite of virtual races covering a total of 70 miles which must be completed between the months of April and August 2021. The seven races vary in distances ranging from 1.3 miles to 26.2 miles. This initiative pays tribute to a trio of cultural, historic and sporting legacies by celebrating the life and legacy of beloved long distance runner, the late Granny Lucess, as well as highlighting the significance and architectural beauty of the magnificent seven buildings located around the Queen’s Park Savannah.  The races are the Stollmeyer’s Castle 10K, White Hall Half Marathon, Archbishop’s Palace 10K, Ambard’s House Half Marathon, Mille Fleurs Marathon, Hayes Court 5K and the Queen’s Royal College Savannah lap.

Minister Cudjoe was thrilled at the response and despite the closure of registration called for more women and girls to take up similar challenges. ‘Sport and physical activity can improve the emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing of our women. Challenges like this can erode antiquated stereotypes about the role of women in society and inspire greater female representation and participation in sports.”
Echoing her sentiments were Merle Lucess Evans and Maria Lucess, daughters of the late Granny Lucess. They both endorsed the Challenge and spoke glowingly about their mother’s legacy, relating her values with that of the Ministry’s initiative. According to Merle, “when we think of Granny, we think of new beginnings. It’s never too late to start. You may feel down and out, but with perseverance, you too can push to accomplish any task. We, the family of this wonderful woman, know this. Granny did not leave us empty. She instilled in us the ability to be hopeful and resilient, and that age should not be a deterrent to accomplish that, which is good. It is with this in mind that the Ministry of Sport and Community Development chose to continue her legacy of determination and grit, so that women of every creed and race can push forward despite setbacks. They can accomplish their dreams and look with positivity to embrace a bright future, because if “Granny” can do it, they can too. Maria shared her sister’s view “Granny would want you to believe in yourself, that you can and no matter the circumstances you face, you will finish your journey. Never give up on your dreams.”

The “GirlsRunTT” Challenge represents one pillar of the recently relaunched “Pink Reign Campaign”, which took place on International Women’s Day, March 8th. Registration closed on March 16th, and the MSCD witnessed almost four-hundred (400) women and girls registering to take up the challenge.
Next week, the MSCD will announce the names of the 340 participants who were selected for sponsorship. A notification email will subsequently be sent to each participant, followed by a verification of their registration details. Through Bafasports, the participants will then receive guidance on installing the race tracker as well as collection of their t-shirts. When participants complete all seven races, they will receive their commemorative medals.


Caption- Minister Cudjoe (2nd left) with Director of Physical Education and Sport Division, Gabre McTair (left), Abbinah Donatien, grand-daughter of the late Lynette ‘Granny’ Lucess (2nd from right) and Nigel Belamy of Bafasports holding the commemorative medals participants will receive on  completion of all seven races of the  #GirlsRunTT Challenge.

Caption- From left: Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Community Development presents Abbinah Donatien, granddaughter of the late Lynette ‘Granny’ Lucess (right) with a Pink Reign t-shirt for #GirlsRunTT Challenge, which pays tribute to the beloved long distance runner, the late Granny Lucess.