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New women’s record in St Helena marathon

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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

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