IF someone runs 70.2 miles over the course of a month it would be considered impressive, let alone if someone accomplishes it in one week.
Charmaine Dookie, 47, completed the distance in October in 15 hours, 34 minutes and 55 seconds, becoming the first person to complete the 70.2-mile challenge organised by BafaSports. Dookie started the challenge on October 6 and completed it on October 13.
Interested people can still complete the challenge as it must be done between October 1 and December 31.
BafaSports uses the Strava GPS Cycling and Running App to monitor the progress of the participants and to confirm that they achieved the distance.
"Completing the 70-mile challenge was exhilarating, exciting and I feel that I have accomplished a major milestone as I have been running for many years," Dookie said.
The challenge was created to highlight the Magnificent Seven buildings around the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
Each participant is required to complete the Queen's Royal College (QRC) Savannah Lap (2.25 miles), Hayes Court 5K (3.1m), Stollmeyer's Castle 10K (6.2m), Archbishop's Palace 10K (6.2m), Ambard's House Half Marathon (13.1 m), White Hall Half Marathon (13.1m) and Mille Fleurs Marathon (26.2m).
The seven legs will give the runners a cumulative distance of 70.2 miles.
For elite athletes, each of the seven challenges must be completed in one attempt.
Dookie ran mostly through Port of Spain and environs to accomplish the challenge using the Queen's Park Savannah, Botanical Gardens, Lady Chancellor Hill and Nelson Mandela Park to reach the milestone.
It was familiar territory for Dookie, as she spent many afternoons during her childhood at the Savannah as she grew up in Woodbrook.
She said running in the same area multiple times could be strange.
"The most difficult part of the challenge was the marathon, which was a little monotonous due to the covid19 restrictions. I resorted to running the same routes multiple times in order to accumulate mileage. For example, running ten laps of the Botanical Gardens felt like a hamster in a wheel," Dookie said, laughing.
Dookie began her journey on October 6 with the Stollmeyer's Castle 10K, completing the first leg by running Mt Hololo in Port of Spain and surrounding loops. On October 7 she completed the QRC Savannah Lap in the morning, before putting on her sneakers later that day to finish the Archbishop's Palace 10K in Westmoorings.
There was no rest for Dookie on October 8 as she completed two more legs of the challenge. In the morning she scratched the Hayes Court 5K off the list by returning to the Savannah, before heading west to Chaguaramas later that day for the White Hall Half Marathon.
After a break on October 9, Dookie tackled another half marathon on October 10. The Ambard's House Half Marathon was now behind her after running the Savannah, Lady Chancellor Hill and the Botanical Gardens.
She jumped over the final hurdle when she completed the Mille Fleurs Marathon, again using the Botanical Gardens and the Savannah, along with Nelson Mandela Park.
She began the final leg at 3.32 pm and ended shortly before 10 pm, as it took six hours, 15 minutes and ten seconds to complete.
It was a full day for Dookie on the day of the marathon, as she left work at 2.30 pm.
"The weather was very favourable (on the day of the marathon)," Dookie said.
The challenge is not only for elite runners, as casual runners and walkers are allowed to complete each event in parts to eventually reach the 70.2-mile mark.
If someone wants to use the Savannah to achieve the journey they need to make 31 laps to reach the finish line.
Dookie, who said she never felt like throwing in the towel, was fortunate that she was not hindered by any injuries.
"Thankfully none, but the effects were felt afterwards. Muscle soreness lasted a day, but it was worth itÉa few of us decided to indulge with a pizza lime afterwards ,especially after our rigorous diet and training while preparing."
Dookie's diet the week before the marathon included provisions, egg, melongene and "a special drink."
Dookie, who said it was "exciting" to plan and prepare mentally and physically for the challenge, has been running most of her life but only joined a club last year.
"I have been running for the past 30 years (or so), but not competitively.
However, joining Club + One a Week in July 2019 has enhanced my speed and endurance and the team has assisted me in completing the many challenges. I enjoy winning trophies, medals, hampers and all the other goodies, as I now have something to show for all my efforts, and I look forward to winning many more."