A man apart!
ST PHILIP, Barbados — That Nicholas Romany has only started running competitively seven years ago and with the quantum leaps made over that short course of time, is nothing short of a human marvel.
The 29-year-old Trinidadian could be considered a late bloomer in distance running and road racing, but his trophies and other accolades tell a different story.
Over the past couple of years, Romany has dominated the 5K and 10K scene in his native Trinidad, but while he has been fiercely competitive in the half-marathon, he will be quick to admit that that segment is not his “strongest point”.
Among his big wins of recent vintage are the South American 10K in Guyana and the Caricom 10K in his homeland. But his total wins have been nothing short of impressive considering his late introduction to the sport.
Romany, a merchandiser for Vemco Limited inside the twin-island republic, aims to conquer new frontiers in the distance-running game. His next target is the ongoing Barbados Run, a series of marathon races being executed by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc over the weekend.
The lanky athlete, who appears harmless at first glance with his lazy gait and subdued demeanour, transforms into a beast once he suits up and sets off running, and that side of him was on full display on Friday night when he jogged to victory in the PWC Fun Mile clocking 4:38 minutes.
But Romany is far from finished as he was due for action on Saturday evening where he was to take on the Casuarina 10K. The Sleeping Giant 5K race was also to be contested on the day.
He will again be on the road on Sunday’s final day of competition where he takes up the challenge of the Sand Dunes Half Marathon. The Joe’s River 5K Walk and the Farley Hill Marathon are the other events on the card.
Romany’s warm-up win on Friday night was taken in stride, but importantly, served to bolster his confidence going into the bigger races.
“I feel very happy starting my first race with a win and will definitely be a confidence booster for the other races, and from here, anything is possible. But more than, I am grateful to be here and to have this mind-blowing experience in Barbados,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
But running three races on consecutive days is new territory for Romany, but he embraces the challenge as a test of his conditioning.
“I have trained well leading up to these race, but it’s my first time doing three races back to back, so we will have to see how it plays out…but I feel in good shape,” he said.
Romany says he does not worry about the competition even as runners from all over the world are in Barbados for the marathons.
“Competition keeps me motivated and I actually only know one runner who is competing, who is Alex Ekesa from Kenya,” he noted.
Romany reasoned that further victories in Barbados would have deep and far-reaching meaning for him, his country and the discipline of long-distance athletics.
“It would mean a lot to me, and for my country Trinidad as well, as it would remind everyone of the talent we have and how far we can reach if given the support,” he stated.
At the end of this weekend’s races, Romany aims to continue his growth and development as a standard-bearer for Trinidad.
“My goals are to keep improving my times and reaching as far as I can with the time and resources that I have,” he noted.
Romany, who is from Maraval in the Trinidad capital of Port of Spain, has words of encouragement for aspiring runners across all distances.
“It’s important to stay committed, be consistent and have discipline in all directions whether listening to your coach or stopping yourself from eating the wrong things,” he advised.
Romany, who is seen back home as a role model for many up-and-coming middle- to long-distant runners, has his own set of inspirational figures — home and abroad — by whose standards he has set his own.
“I’m inspired by runners, by countrymen Matthew Hagley, Richard Jones, Curtis Cox and Pamenos Ballantyne, but my favourite international runner is Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia,” he shared.
Romany, meantime, gave a rousing endorsement to the 40-year Run Barbados, claiming that more than the competitive side it allows for life-changing interactions among peoples and cultures of the world.
“So far my stay here [in Barbados] has been excellent and the people are very nice. The Barbados Run is also important because when athletes and people from different countries come to take part in these events, they not only just take part, they would learn a lot about other people and culture,” Romany ended.