St Helena Online

Tag: St Helena Festival of Running

Nandeli, aged 11, beats the adults in 3K race (including Dad)

Runners line up at the start of the 3K and 10K races
Runners line up at the start of the 3K and 10K races. Picture: Barry Hubbard (Facebook)

He’s only just passed his 11th birthday, but already Nandeli Pelembe is proving a force to be reckoned with when it comes to running on St Helena.

He won the 2012 Festival of Running 3-kilometre race in 20 mins and 32 seconds – nearly two minutes ahead of second-placed Julian Morris (22:22), and three minutes ahead of his own parents.

The youngsters forced the 3K pace. Picture: Barry Hubbard (Facebook)

He wasn’t the only youngster to leave adult runners gasping. Aiden Yon-Stevens cross the line in fifth place – at the age of just seven.

His time of 25:36 put him 12 seconds clear of adult runner Mike Dean – who happens to be director of the tourism department, which has staged the festival (to be fair, he’s also a little older than Aiden).

For Nandeli, it was the second prominent race win. He also ran the race through Jamestown on St Helena Day, beating veteran runner Paul Blessington, on a tough course that climbed Side Path and dropped down to the hospital and back to the seafront.

He ran the 2.5-mile course in 23 minutes and 42 seconds.

On Tuesday’s Festival 3K, Julian Morris prevented the Pelembe family claiming all the medal positions.

Anselmo Pelembe, who is from Mozambique, finished third in 23:48, with wife Tara – Nandeli’s mother – coming in fourth in 24:44.

Tara, who is the daughter of island historians Basil and Barbara George, has been seconded by a government agency in the UK to head St Helena’s new Environmental Management Directorate.

Nandeli had been running for his primary school in the UK before the family moved out to the island. He turned 11 in April.

Results of the 10K race, which took place at the same time on Tuesday, will appear on this site soon.

New women’s record in St Helena marathon

2012 Festival of Running: 3K results (excel file)
St Helena Tourism

New women’s record in St Helena marathon

A new women’s record has been set in the world’s most remote marathon race, on the opening weekend of the 2012 St Helena Festival of Running.

Henrietta Timms won the race round the 42-kilometre circuit of St Helena’s mountain roads in 4 hours, 27 minutes and 57 seconds.

She finished ahead of two male entrants, Lieuke Hepkema and Barry Cahill. However, their times suggest they were out to do the distance, not break records. The event is open to both runners and walkers.

The St Helena Marathon is described as “a challenging but rewarding feat along a breathtaking route over varied terrain, through Sandy Bay Ridges, Halley’s Mount, Green Hill and Levelwood.”

Stephen Bagley won the 21km half-marathon in a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 33 seconds, with John Woollacot crossing the line nine minutes later.

The third man and first woman home both shared the same finishing time – and the same surname. Grant and Suzie Pearson completed the run in 2 hours, 47 minutes and 31 seconds, three and a half minutes ahead of Tara Pelembe.

Grant is a visiting adviser on waste disposal and Tara is head of the island’s new environmental directorate. The run gave them plenty of time to admire the landscape they’re protecting.

Mary and Michael Cahill were the lead (and only) walkers, finishing together.

Results of the 3km and 10km “fun runs” on 26 June 2012 will appear on this site as soon as they are available.

Thursday sees the gruelling Diana’s Peak race, from Jamestown sea front to the highest point on the island – a distance of about six miles and just under 3,000 feet of ascent.

Which sets runners up nicely for the island’s unique showcase event: the brutal Jacob’s Ladder Challenge, which closes the festival on Friday.

A 15-kilometre off-road trail run – won by Financial Secretary Paul Blessington in 2010 in a very rapid 1:05:54 – is not being repeated this year.


We were lucky with the weather I think. Clear enough for excellent views and overcast enough to avoid overheating. Big thanks to Grant who helped me overcome the last hill…he would have had a MUCH better time if he’d not been running with me all the way!

– Suzie Pearson, St Helena – blog

Race Records:

21KM (half-marathon)
1 Jean-Paul Van Belle: 1:40:46, set in 2001
2 Errol Duncan 1:43:14, in 2001
3 Ronald Morris 1:45:57, in 2011

42KM (marathon)
1 Errol Duncan 4:01:16, set in 2007
2 Errol Duncan 4:06:46, in 2003
3 Stefan Schlett 4:13:52, in 2007
(Stefan Schlett holds the record for running up the 699 steps of Jacob’s Ladder:
5 mins, 17.46 secs)

St Helena’s just not horrible enough for marathon runners
Governor crosses line in Falklands marathon: your turn, Mr Capes?

2012 Marathon results
Three months on St Helena – blog by Suzie Pearson

St Helena’s just not horrible enough for marathon runners

A few days ago, this website pondered the reasons why the world’s most southerly marathon (Falkland Islands) was so much more popular than the world’s most remote marathon (St Helena).

Perhaps it’s political: one wouldn’t want to make too much of it, but the relay event in the 2012 Stanley Marathon was won by a team from Argentina. Warmly applauded, of course.

Or maybe it’s the wonderful climate, as described by Falklands journalist Juanita Brock:

Though the race began in bright sunshine and warm, near gale force breezes, the weather deteriorated and it ended with horizontal rain and the finish line blowing away.

Not everyone’s idea of a nice day out, perhaps, but marathon runners are masochists. That’s the whole point, surely?

Despite the lashing conditions, the first three runners finished in under three hours.

Sergeant Robert Harden won in 2:52:31, a full three minutes clear of the fastest services relay team.

Medals were presented by Falklands governor Nigel Haywood, who’d just run the full 26 miles himself. He finished 14th out of 58 runners in a very impressive 3:42:14.

We’re not told who presented his medal.


Governor crosses line in Falklands marathon: your turn, Mr Capes?

Governor crosses line in Falklands marathon: your turn, Mr Capes?

Poster for the Standard Chartered Stanley Marathon, showing a female runner with sea and distant hills beyond
Stanley Marathon is officially the world's most southerly 26-miler

Falklands Radio reports that the Falkland Islands’ governor, Nigel Haywood, has crossed the finishing line in the the world’s most southerly marathon “with the governor’s flag in his hand”.

Which begs the question: will his counterpart on St Helena, Mark Capes, be tackling the world’s most remote marathon in June 2012?

Or maybe he’ll pass the flag to the island’s financial secretary, Paul Blessington, who has a history of running home after work on a Tuesday – six miles, 2,000 feet of ascent, partly off-road, in under an hour.

There is some pressure on His Excellency here: his predecessor, Governor Gurr, was known to go running, and also completed 100 ascents of Jacob’s Ladder, the brutal flight of 699 steps rising up from Jamestown.

A picture on the news website on the Falklands shows a sizeable field setting off for this year’s event – including relay teams.

So how do the Falklands manage to attract so many runners, when the result of the last St Helena marathon was a foregone conclusion, just so long as the only entrant managed to finish? (She did).

The first male and female finishers in the Stanley Marathon (Robert Harden and Argentinian Claudia Camargo) each won £1,100. The first relay team shared £900.

That might have something to do with it.

Sergeant Harden, a gym instructor based on the islands at Hillside, had already won the Cape Pembroke half-marathon, running in aid of the Royal British Legion.

He’d set himself a challenge of completing both events in a combined time of 4 hours and 45 minutes – meaning he had to finish the full 26-miler in 3 hours 28 minutes. For every minute he went over that time, he’d promised to donate an extra pound to the legion.

Frank Jaffray was the only Falklands-born runner to go the full distance.

The official times haven’t yet been published (as at 1800hrs UK time on 19 March 2012).

Congratulations to all the runners. And good luck to Governor Capes…


BFBS Radio interview with Sergeant Harden


Standard Chartered Stanley Marathon
St Helena Festival of Running 2012

Note, this post has been being written by someone who managed a time of 5 mins and 45 seconds when a race up the Jacob’s Ladder was staged to mark the first Governor’s Cup yacht race, and who was recently irked to discover that because the St Helena media didn’t work over the Christmas holidays back then, the result went unrecorded. The winner, from New Caledonia, was 12 seconds faster, which would put him high up the current top ten – but the records make no mention of it. Unless anyone kept a copy?