Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge, Tobago
Participants at finish line at the Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge, Tobago.

Loud cheers, soca music at Tobago Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge 2023

All participants at the Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge, Tobago journeyed through the steep and gently sloping terrain of the forest reserve and crossed the finish line at the Bloody Bay recreation grounds.

They were greeted by loud cheers from supporters, and vibrant soca music and received a collector’s finishers medal. The event started at the Cyd Gray Sporting Complex, Tobago, on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

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The highly anticipated Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge was attended by scores of fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers. The event marked the celebration of 247 years since the Main Ridge Forest was declared a Crown Reserve, making it the oldest legally protected forest reserve in the Western Hemisphere established for conservation purposes. 

Cycling, running and walking races at Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge

The Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge was hosted by the Tobago Reforestation and Watershed Rehabilitation Programme (TRWRP), a company under the Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development (DFSNRESD), in partnership with the Tobago House of Assembly, and coordinated by Bafasports. 

Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge, Tobago
Cyclists at the end of event.

A total of 240 participants competed in one of three challenges: 20km cycling, 15km running/walking and 5km running/walking. The race kicked off with the 15km running/walking challenge at 7:40 a.m. from the Cyd Gray Sporting Complex.

The cyclists then proceeded at 8:00 a.m. from the same vicinity. The 5km running/walking challenge later commenced at 8:30 a.m. from the Main Ridge Visitor Center.

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‘Getting physically fit in…God’s best gift to mankind…Tobago’

Farley Chavez Augustine, Chief Secretary of the THA, speaking at the opening ceremony shared, “We experience a lot more communicable diseases because we are not as physically active as we used to be; and Tobago has the benefit of us getting physically fit in what is perhaps God’s best gift to mankind, the closest thing to paradise, Tobago. And so, you have an opportunity to run through what is the oldest protected rainforest in the Western Hemisphere.

“In fact, it has been almost 250 years since that legislation has passed and that makes it the oldest piece of environmental legislation anywhere in the world. You get to run through the rainforest this morning, experiencing the best breeze, best climatic conditions and best air quality, all because our parents protected that for us.”

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Beautiful surrounding scenery and exhibitions from Wildlife Association

Dedan Daniel, Chairman of TRWRP and Assemblyman Nathisha Charles-Pantin, Secretary of the DFSNRESD also shared welcoming remarks at the event. 

Shardie Mahabir, top female of the 15km challenge commented, “Running through the main ridge was a phenomenal experience. I loved that the temperature was perfectly cool, and though some inclines were intense, the beautiful surrounding scenery was all I needed to power through. I cannot wait to participate again!” 

Participants and supporters also enjoyed exhibitions from the Wildlife Association, and patronised food and craft from local entrepreneurs. The event was graciously supported by the Tobago Emergency Management Agency, Tour Guide Association, Village Council, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Roxborough Police Youth Club. 

Main Ridge Forest Fitness Challenge, Tobago
Prize-giving ceremony.

Results at prize-giving ceremony

The fitness challenge culminated with a prize-giving ceremony. The results are as follows: 

-Top 5km Running Males: Keron Ali (15:50); Nkosi Toney (16:30); Donell Francis (16:44)

-Top 5km Running Females: April Francis (21:20); Kenya Muir (22:10); Sterle Timothy-Ottley (25:13)

-Top 15km Running Males: Nicholas Romany (1:04:30); Christopher Mitchell (1:04:42); Kelvin Johnson (1:07:03)

-Top 15km Running Females: Shardie Mahabir (1:31:12); Julie Gardiner (1:44:58); Kelly Rampersad (1:47:16)

-Top 20km Cycling Males: Marlon Roach (57:41); Mark London (58:54) ; Bronson Chapman (59:00) 

-Top 20km Cycling Females: Grit Blackman (1:24:33); Lu-Ann Harper (2:36:06)

-Special Prize Categories: Youngest Male – Uri Grandison; Youngest Female – Davina Turner; Most Experienced Male – Anthony Bourne; Most Experienced Female – Elizabeth Poelstra; Largest Team – Club +OAW Dracarys (25)

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