Visiting runner Henrietta Timms has scored a third victory in the 2012 St Helena Festival of Running – after starting out by setting a new women’s record for the island marathon.
Her tally in three events was:
- Sunday 24 June: St Helena Marathon, first place – 4 hrs, 27 mins, 57 secs
- Tuesday 26: 10K race, first place – 55 mins, 28 secs
- Thursday 28: Island Ascent, first place - 57 mins
The third race should have been to the summit of Diana’s Peak, the highest point on St Helena, but the event was shortened for safety reasons.
Merrill Joshua of St Helena Tourism said: “Due to adverse weather conditions we did not want to risk the safety of runners participating in the Diana’s Peak ascent, so we shortened the route.”
Most runners enjoy a long rest and recovery period after the rigours of running a marathon – especially on a hilly course – but Henrietta lined up at the start of the 10kr race after only two days’ rest.
She won in a time of 54 minutes on a course that took runners from Francis Plain to White Gate, Scotland and Rosemary Plain, with a steep valley to negotiate at the start and finish.
Henrietta travelled to the island from the UK specially to take part in the Festival of Running.
Stephen Bayley was second in the 10K race in 55:28, and visiting waste adviser Grant Pearson came home in 56:05 in third place – the position he shared with wife Suzie in the island’s half-marathon.
This time, Suzie finised seventh, behind Kath Squires, Tony Earnshaw and Lyn Buckley. The other finishers were Martin Clack, Charlotte Hubbard, Helen Owen, Val Joshua and Jane Roberts.
The course evidently did not trouble sixth-placed runner Lyn Buckley.
She said: “Life is full of challenges. The more mountains you climb the stronger you become. I love the 10k run. It was comfortable and I’m ready to do it again.
“Well done for the organisers and to the runners that participated.”
Paul Blessington, who holds the record for the Diana’s Peak run (1 hr 23 mins and 23 secs) was not among this year’s competitors. He is coming to the end of his period of office as the island’s Financial Secretary, which may leave the field open for future years.
But his wife, Margaret, was one of five competitors who slogged up from Jamestown in the shortened Island Ascent race.
The final results were: 1 Henrietta Timms (57min), 2 Lyuk Hepkema (1hr 28min), 3 Val Joshua (1hr 38min), 4 Margaret Blessington (1hr 40min), 5 Jackie Leo (1hr 41min).
The final race of the festival is the island’s unique Jacob’s Ladder Challenge, up the 699 steps rising out of Jamestown. Each step is 11 inches high… but nearer the top, they feel higher.