The St Helena Festival of Running 2016
St Helena Tourism hosted the eighth Festival of Running from 19 – 27 November 2016. During this year’s event, competitors took part in running events ranging from a full marathon to a 3k fun run, the Jacob’s Ladder Challenge, a trail run as well as a triathlon.
Entrance fees for the events were donated to the National Amateur Sports Association, St Helena (NASAS) and New Horizons Youth Centre.
The festival began on a cloudy Saturday morning on 19 November at Francis Plain, when the marathon and half marathon competitors took off. The marathon runners passed through St Paul’s, Half Tree Hollow, Sandy Bay, Levelwood and Longwood to complete what is possibly the most remote marathon in the world.
Two marathon records were broken – the first gent, Martin Collins, finished in 3hrs 44min 5secs, beating the previous record of 4hrs 1min 16secs. Megan Vass broke the ladies’ marathon record in 4hrs 24mins 12secs. The previous record was 4hrs 27mins 57secs.
This unique event attracted seven international runners.
The 3km and 10km runs began later that morning, and passed through St Paul’s and Half Tree Hollow. There were 27 10km runners and 25 3km runners, including children. This was the largest event of the festival, and the most runners this event has ever attracted.
Martin Collins breaks the marathon record
Jacob’s Ladder Challenge
The festival continued on Tuesday 22 November with the Jacob’s Ladder Challenge, a race up the 699 steps from Jamestown to Ladder Hill. Twenty-eight competitors took part in the challenge, including a number of international runners. The record remained unbroken at 5mins 16secs. This challenge takes place at different times of the year including St Helena’s Day and in Aid of Cancer Awareness.
Jacob’s Ladder Challenge
A trail run from Jamestown to Diana’s Peak took place on 26 November. This run starts from the lowest point and progresses to the highest peak on the island, 823m above sea level. There were 12 competitors, and Martin Collins broke his second record in 56mins 55 secs. The previous was 1hr 5mins 54secs.
The last event was the triathlon, which took place on 27 November with five teams and four individuals taking part. The three stages took place in and around Jamestown: swimming from the wharf to the Papanui wreck; two loops by bike from the wharf to the hospital at the top of Jamestown, and back to the Mule Yard; and running from the Mule Yard to The Briar’s and back to Jamestown.
Another record was broken on this day by Colby Thomas, Anthony Thomas and Martin Collins who completed the team event in 57 mins 47secs. The previous record was 1hr 4mins 55secs. This was Martin Collins’ third new record for the festival.
The festival ended on 27 November with a closing ceremony. Speeches were made by Nicky Stevens, Chairman of NASAS; and medals, certificates and prizes were presented by Susan O’Bey, Deputy Chief Executive for Economic Development.
Fifty-eight medals were presented at the ceremony to those who placed first, second and third throughout the festival, and all participants were given a certificate with their completion times. One hundred and eighteen certificates in total were printed for this event, with some participants being involved in two or more events. Martin Collins participated in all four events and broke three records.