CariFin Cross Country

Deonanan blazes the Course, Regis retains Cross Country Title; Harrikissoon returns to reclaim top position in the Walk and Weeks does not fail to impress

CariFin Games Cross Country generated its own excitement and drama compared to the other events fielded on the day.
The spectators who gathered to watch the 26th running of CariFin (Caribbean Financial Institutions) Games Cross Country on Sunday May 28, 2017 saw a very exciting and interesting race unfold at the Sevilla Golf Course.
This year’s participating institutions were ANSA Financial Services, Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT), First Citizens, Guardian Group, JMMB Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Republic Bank Limited (RBL), Sagicor, Scotia Bank and Unit Trust Corporation.
The finals of the four-part running series would be the decider of the overall top performers in the series. At approximately 5.05 p.m. as the sun was setting and the shadows lengthening the newly crowned Ms. CariFin 2017, Falomi Marcano of First Citizens sent the race off; which included both women and men.
It was the biggest day in the CariFin Games participation history for Kris Deonanan, who has been competing since 2015 and collecting minor placement along the way. However, this year proved to be different for Kris as the number one position opened up to him and allowed him to take his seat among the champions.

“Although I was confident going into the Cross Country, I am a bit surprised to have won, especially knowing the level of talent that was represented on that day. Crossing the finish line was a great feeling and I literally had to take a moment to let it settle in.”

Kris’s overall results in the Games is as follows:

·      One Lap Savannah – 3rd Place

·      Green Mile – 3rd Place

·      Chancellor Challenge – 2nd Place

·      Cross Country- 1st Place

Thus claiming the title for the best overall Male runner of the 4 part series and the Games with 10 points.

L)Steve Blackburn C)Kris Deonanan R)Abijah Phillip

Kris set out early on the course, kept pushing and at every loop (3 in total) he kept lengthening his distance on the pack to finish with a lead of 2.07secs, ahead of second place finisher and 2016 Cross Country champion Abijah Phillip. Phillip, who looked like he was having a difficult day finished with a time of 30.15.

About his experience on the day Phillip had this to say “The race was challenging and very enjoyable. Despite not coming out victorious, it was great to be a part of the event.”

In third place was Steve Blackburn of Unit Trust, who crossed the finish line in a time of 31.51secs. John Donaldson of First Citizens and a former winner of the Cross Country in 2014 took the fourth spot in 32.15secs. Deodath Harrikissoon who earlier won the walk doubled back and finished the run in 32.28.

L) Natalie Thomas C) Christine Regis R) Darcel Aquillera

Christine Regis of ANSA Financial Services celebrated her second Cross Country title two years in a row with a time of 24.03; giving a 2.29secs space between her and the competition. This was easy going for her since the main challenger Salina Scott of CBTT, the previous winner of all three pre-races, was unable to compete in the event. Natalie Thomas of CBTT filled the second spot in 26.32 secs and third place went to First Citizens’ Darcel Aquillera, who clocked in a time of 28.01secs. Lorrainne Ayoung Chee of CBTT took fourth position in 28.05secs and Stacy Ann Jack also of First Citizens crossed the finish line in 29.27secs to finish fifth.
When asked how she felt about winning the female Cross Country, Regis said,

“I feel really great, because I was a bit scared knowing that I came off of a very hard marathon last week and I am still in the recovery stage, so I was not sure how I was going to run today. My muscles are still sore but thank the Lord I did it and I came out victorious.”

The walk was the 1st of the races to get going. At approximately 3.40 p.m. the walkers were greeted by the Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Alvin Hilaire, who then sent the event off.
Deodath Harrikissoon, who had missed the pre – walk events (1 Lap Savannah, Green Mile, and Chancellor Challenge) due to illness, took control of this race and showed that he still had the confidence necessary to lead from the start. This First Citizens champion was back and ready to continue his winning streak. He separated himself from the pack and as he entered the 2.2 K course he was all alone and headed for the finish line. Harrikissoon crossed the line in 18.19secs, while CBTT’s Desmond Christian followed in 19.19secs to take second place. First Citizens Walker Neil Juman took the third position in 20.41secs.

Tessa Weeks of RBL made it four wins out of four, for 2017 and is the only athlete to accomplish this feat. She walked the 2.2 K lap in 20.15 and therefore took the overall walking title along with a trophy and hampers as well as cash incentives which all overall winners will get at prize distribution day.

“The Cross Country race on Sunday 28th May could not come quickly enough to culminate my success at the 2017 CariFin Games. It was my best showing yet as I was the first female winner in all of the various events. I feel accomplished as my five days of boot camp training were not in vain and I was able to retain the title. As the overall female walking champion consistency and persistence are watchwords by which I live. CariFin really does foster fitness and friendships as I see my ‘CariFin’ friends at all the races- 5Ks, 10Ks and ½ marathons in which I participate; and exercising is fun! I look forward to the 2018 games.”

CariFin Games 2017 takes this opportunity to thank its sponsors and partners: The official water of the Games – Bluewaters; S.M Jaleel & Co Limited, Bryden PI, Renew Serpentine Limited, Bobby’s Jewellery, Inn Collection Limited, ATP Scott, Bertram Manhin Limited, Central Bank Employees Credit Union, Climate Control Limited, Integrated Computing & Outsourcing Network Solutions Co. Ltd, Lezama Electrical Services Limited.

CariFin Games also says thanks and good luck to this year’s participating institutions: ANSA Financial Services, Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, First Citizens, Guardian Group, JMMB Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Republic Bank Limited, Sagicor, Scotia Bank and Unit Trust Corporation.


APRIL 01 – MAY 28.

CariFin Games, founded in 1991, is dedicated to the promotion of an individual’s responsibility for their own health and fitness by encouraging them to live a more active lifestyle. This sense of personal responsibility is not offered in isolation. There is also the opportunity for friendly rivalry and competition, networking and camaraderie, as represented in our slogan: “Fun, Fitness & Friendship”. Additionally, for the last three years CariFin Games has partnered with the Voice of Lupus foundation, where proceeds from the registration of the games go towards the foundation.



Phillip and Deonanan headlines the field going into the Cross Country

Could Scott make it 4 straight with CariFin Cross Country

The CariFin cross country always had that pristine lure, that bit of seclusion and mystery to it and in 2017 it would be no different as teams from the Financial Services Sector would be heading down to Sevilla Golf Course in Brechin Castle Couva for the finals of the CariFin Games 4-part series. This is a part of the CariFin Family Day and cross country. This would be the 26th edition of the CariFin Cross Country Run, here you would get to see who would emerge as champions of the Cross Country and overall winners of the series. CariFin Games is about the promotion of health and fitness, closer relationship, camaraderie, friendship within the financial services sector. This race is the final successive event on the program and both male and female categories would be contested together in the interest of time. At 4.45p.m. the able body male and females within the Financial Services Sector would line up by the clubhouse for the start of this event. Runners from the 10 participating institutions would be seeking to bring honors and recognition to their institution based on the numerous categories that exist in this event.

Abijah Phillip is the defending cross country champion and he had a couple of 2nd place finishes in the series so far, in both the 1 Lap Savannah and the Green Mile he occupied 2nd spot behind Jean Paul Drakes both of RBL. Unfortunately, Drakes wouldn’t be available for Sevilla so that make Phillip the favorite for Sunday’s encounter. On the other hand, Kris Deonanan has two 3rd place finishes for the 1 Lap and Green Mile and a 2nd place on Chancellor Challenge and seems as the natural favorite to finish in 2nd spot. Also being consistent in the running department for the males is UTC’s Kevin Blackburn who placed 4th in the 1 Lap, 5th in the Green Mile and 3rd on Chancellor. Phillip had to miss the Chancellor Challenge and that means that Kris Deonanan would be in strong contention to be the best overall competitor over the 4 running events and take the series, with the 1st and 2nd runners not being able to compete in all 4 events. Undeterred by the competition Phillip had this to say “I’m excited to participate in this great event for a second year, I intend to give it my best and enjoy every second of it”.

Salina Scott dominance in the CariFin Games 4 part series was obvious from the flat circular Savannah to the dusty 1-mile sand track to the ascent of the Chancellor Hill she was 1st to cross the finish line. Based on this level of dominance the CBTT posse could come prepared to take this one to the bank. In 2nd place is another favorite Christine Regis who has maintained 2nd position throughout the series and is also the defending cross country champion for 2016. ANSA Financial Services would have someone to celebrate in the Cross Country race and Kateri Edwards looks promising to fill 3rd spot on Sunday should she come prepared. Her performance should give First Citizen a happy moment and something to cheer about. Another female runner that can make an impression on the cross country course is Central Bank’s – Lorainne Ayoung-Chee who has been consistent over the last 3 events, even placing 3rd in Chancellor Challenge. In the Cross Country in 2016 she finished 4th with a time of 27.53 for the 2 lap journey, it would be interesting to see what her improved performance for this year would translate into at Sevilla.

But Christine, Kateri, Lorainne and the other athletes would have a bit of a challenge if they are eyeing 1st place as Salina Scott is always ready to slay, she said “right now my running condition is great and I anticipate a very good performance on Sunday. I look forward to the terrain as I’m not accustomed to running on that surface and I’m always looking for new ways to challenge myself. Going into this event I feel confident that I’ll take it and I look forward to it being a competitive event. I know I won’t have an easy race the competition is strong”

But in the finals you never know for sure, as some runners miss the three Urban

Challenge races and come out for the Cross Country and spoils the party for the runners who have been prominent in the previous events.

The Cross Country course is approximately 2.2 km in length around the perimeter. It’s uneven terrain with some rolling hills. The absence of regular rain would mean the ground is still hard but if we get any more rain over the next few days that could change from steady hard under foot to a softer, slipperier surface. The women do 2 laps 4.4 km which is from the start from the club house to the beginning of the run on the course. The distance from the roadway to the beginning of the course is approximately 900 meters making the female distance around a 5K for the women and the male because they do 3 laps around an 8K.

For further information about CariFin Games 26th Anniversary or to schedule an interview with Wayne Roberts please call 731-3370 or email


They came, they saw and they definitely conquered.

The 2016 CariFin Games are now in the books and the duo of Abijah Phillip and Deodath Harrikissoon were the ones standing tallest at the end of the Cross Country event on Sunday evening.
The Cross Country was the main attraction in CariFin’s Family Day at the spacious Sevilla Golf Course, and Phillip and Harrikissoon stepped up to the occasion. The course was no easy one as the competitors had to endure some rugged and hilly terrain before they could make their ways to the finish line. The heavy afternoon downpour would not have helped the runners as they went through the grassy areas of the course either, but they all took up the challenge admirably.

Abijah Phillip

Abijah Phillip

Phillip, who won all the previous running events at this year’s games –One Lap Savannah, Green Mile and Chancellor Challenge- was challenged early in the Cross Country run as Guardian’s Kevon Gomez surged ahead of him. However, Phillip was not unfazed by Gomez’s early burst and he gradually reeled in his competitor as the race went on.

It was a challenging run but I tried to stick to my run, Phillip said after the race. “I didn’t get distracted by (Gomez’s) tactics. I just stuck to my run and it worked out for me.

There were no surprises then when Phillip was the first competitor seen coming up the hill and heading towards the home stretch. The calm Phillip even afforded a bit of a smile as he bent the corner towards the finish line. Phillip finished the race in a time of 27:29, while Gomez finished second in a time 28:08 despite tiring badly. Gomez’s Guardian compatriot, Kris Deonan, finished third in a time of 28:18.

“It was different,” Phillip said in reference to the course. But the Republic Bank employee had taken some runs along the Lady Young Rd in Morvant prior to the course and it seemed to set him in good stead. “Well I actually had to jump over some of the mud but it was difficult. The up and down was really difficult.”

While the men had to make three laps of the 2.2 km course, their female counterparts were required to make two laps. A strong finish from the evergreen Ansa Financial Services’ Christine Regis propelled her into first place with a time of 23:33. Regis was second with less than 300 metres to go, but she was able to find enough gas in her tank to pass Guardian’s Jileta Candace Landeau before entering the home stretch. Landeau finished just six seconds behind Regis while last year’s female Cross Country winner and current aerobics champion Adona Joseph finished third in a time of 25:36.

The Fun Run, which was a less-tasking one lap event, was won by RBL’s Teon Jack. The young Jack sped out ahead of the pack at the beginning of the race and he never opted to look back as he finished the course in a time of 12:30. RBC’s Roger Cupidore finished second in 13:48 while Unit Trust’s Sydel Mollineau finished third in a time of 14:12.

Unit Trust’s Kyrstal Awong was able to bring home the bacon in the female’s Fun Run though, as she won in a time of 17:50. Central Bank’s Karyn Stewart finished second in a time of 18:04 while ANSA’s Annette Richardson finished third in a time of 20:10.

Deodath Harrikisson

Deodath Harrikissoon

In the Fun Walk, Harrikissoon was able to continue his winning streak as he notched a fourth straight walking triumph. Last year’s female Fun Walk winner, Christine Villafana, excitingly matched Harrikissoon tit-for-tat at the beginning of the race. However, the experienced Harrikissoon was able to pull away from Villafana and the rest of the pack as he strutted to the finish line in a time of 18:41. Guardian’s Christopher Reid finished second in the men’s race in a time of 20:11, while Harrikissoon’s FCB compatriot Neil Juman finished third in the men’s race in a time of 20:48.

Harrikissoon, who goes about his walking races so effortlessly, claims that he has no special techniques for his walking. However, he credits a healthy lifestyle and diet for keeping him in top shape.

I have a kinda motto saying ‘my wealth is my health’ and I live by that,” Harrikissoon said. “I try to eat very healthy. I think about what I eat and as an athlete I look at what I’m eating.

Harrikissoon, who was once a professional boxer, pointed to the usefulness of the CariFin Games in maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well. “It helps a lot to relieve some stress because the banking sector is a lot of stress for the employees (…) if a person can do at least half an hour of exercise per day it could relieve a lot of stress and they could be very healthy,” Harrikissoon said.

Tessa Weeks

Tessa Weeks

The Republic Bank ladies ended their games with another dominant walk of their own as they occupied the first four positions in their field. Tessa Weekes copped her second straight walking event with a time of 19:26, which was only bettered by Harrikissoon, while Villafana finished second and fourth overall in a time of 20:37. Keshona and La Toya George rounded off the familiar RBL sweep; walk on ladies.


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