The thousands of runners who took part in the ING marathon and half-marathon on Sunday had a special form of encouragement when they started on the final mile: steel pan music.
For the hungry, there were sweet breads and salt fish cakes.
It was all courtesy of a Trinidad and Tobago group, Caribbean American Heritage of Florida Inc. (CAHFI) who carved out a small corner for themselves at the ING Community Fun Zone that offered entertainment and cheering sections to encourage the runners.
This was the third year that CAHFI took part in the event, setting up its Trinbago Village at 1101 Brickell Ave., which happened to be across from the Trinidad and Tobago consulate.
ASA Sealy, CAHFI’s president, said, the non-profit organization “focuses on developing awareness and recognition of Caribbean Americans.”
Last year, CAHFI went for a beach theme for its section of the Fun Zone, complete with beach umbrella, beach toys, carnival dancers and sand. This year, Sealy said, the group scaled back the theme because nobody wanted to spend another year cleaning up sand.
Trinbago Village had a deejay playing calypso and steel pan music. Supporters and runners were treated to traditional sweet breads and salt fish cakes and other Trinidad and Tobago foods, catered by Kathy Paul of Sweet Hand Kathy, a Trinidadian and Chinese cuisine catering company.
Jeffers Pascal, Paul’s husband, ran the marathon for the first time.
“I played semi-pro soccer when I was in New York. I relocated here with my wife and decided to do the marathon because I like to run,” said Pascal, who is from Grenada.
He said the Trinbago Village showcased not just Trinidad and Tobago but also sparked interest in the Caribbean as a whole.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Deputy Consul General Garth A. Lamsee joined in the fun, directing participants to check out the booth.
“The consulate fully supports CAFHI’s outreach events. It creates excitement and interest in learning more about Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
Trinidad native Ollie Goodger’s son ran in the marathon in 2010. This year, he did not run but still when she got an invitation from the Trinidad and Tobago consulate to attend, she had no problem joining her fellow country men and women at Fun Zone.
“This is the last mile and they need that extra push. The music and cheering give them the extra push to finish,” Goodger said.
Shelissa Gomes, the reigning Miss Miami Broward Carnival, turned out to support her uncle, David Fletcher, who ran in the full marathon last year and in the half marathon this year.
“I started running six years ago when I turned 40. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do these sorts of things,” Fletcher said.
Anthony Irish came out to cheer on fellow Trinidadians and a few members of the Fun Generation Carnival Band.
“I got here at 6 a.m. to see the start of the race in front of AmericanAirlines Arena, then I walked all the way down here to cheer more people,” she said. “It’s my way of getting in shape for carnival.”
• Caribbean American Heritage of Florida Inc. is located at 20801 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 403. Aventura. For more information, call 954-957-5772 or visit www.ourcaribbeanflorida.org.
The Consulate General of Trinidad and Tobago is at 1000 Brickell Ave., Suite 800, Miami. For more information, call 305-374-2199 or log on to ttcgmiami.com.