On Friday 22 June the Festival of Running 2012 was scheduled to begin, with a historic walk through Jamestown. However, due to the late arrival of the RMS, this has been postpone until Saturday at 2pm. The walk is a guided tour of the oldest part of our capital and is hosted by Basil George of Magma Tours.
The Festival of Running is being hosted by St Helena Tourism for the second time. Merril Joshua and Mike Dean, both of St Helena Tourism, have been working on raising the international profile of the event. On previous occasions this event has attracted international participants who have travelled to St Helena to take part.
“We’ve advertised the Festival of Running internationally for the last 12 months,” said Dean, “unfortunately no one has come specifically to participate in the event. We do still have a tour operator we work with who specialises in international events. What we’ve got to be doing in the run up to the airport, for example, is build up the awareness of the Festival and the events. I think once the airport’s opened and people can fly here then there will be a lot more interest.”
A week long programme has been arranged for the festival which includes a 42 km Marathon, starting at Francis plain, proceeding through Sandy Bay Ridges, Halley's Mount, Green Hill and Level Wood. The record for this Marathon is held by Errol Duncan, who, in 2007, completed the run in just over 4 hours.
It also includes a 3km and 10 km fun run which are the events that usually draw the most interest in terms of participation.
The event will conclude on Friday 29 June with the Jacobs Ladder Challenge, the record for which stands at 5 minute 17 seconds, set by Stefan Schlett, and has remained unbeaten since 2007.