Island athletes take centre stage in 2021 Jersey Marathon

HOME favourites won the Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon for the first time in over a decade on Sunday, led by ultra-distance runner Evan Laframboise.

Over 1,500 runners took part in the various disciplines on offer as part of the Jersey Marathon Picture: JON GUEGAN
Over 1,500 runners took part in the various disciplines on offer as part of the Jersey Marathon Picture: JON GUEGAN

With the London Marathon and pandemic-related travel restrictions leaving the field void of its now-customary international flavour, attention turned to some of the Island’s top talent as they sought to grasp a rare opportunity.

Not since Claire Forbes claimed the women’s race in 2010 has a Jersey athlete tasted victory over 26.2 miles on home soil, while it has been 12 years since Dr Andrew Hennessey recorded the Island’s last outright success. Laframboise brought that wait to an end after taking charge of the men’s race in the final stages and former Island footballer Stephanie Henwood-Darts made a late dash for victory in the women’s event.

‘I was looking around on the start line and I couldn’t see the usual faces who would have been miles ahead within half an hour,’ said Laframboise, who stopped the clock in 2hr 54min 18sec. ‘But you can only work with what you’ve got and I just went for it.

‘I’ve done the Marathon des Sables [a 150-mile desert ultra-marathon in Morocco] but this was tough in a different way. Emotional, too, with Jersey supporters. I almost stopped before the finish line ... I’m glad I got there.’

Thirty minutes back, Islander Natalie Hodge had pushed herself to the top of the women’s standings at the expense of early front-runner Claire Fisher, from Victoria Park Harriers in London, but Henwood-Darts was tracking the duo and made a break for victory at the death. She passed Hodge at the Esplanade roundabout, a mere 500m before the finish at Weighbridge Place.

‘Run Coach,je Men’, featuring Island Games track athlete Sam Maher and Commonwealth Games triathlete Ollie Turner, won the Ravenscroft relay – finishing third overall despite setting off 30 minutes after the 500-plus solo runners, while there were wins for Luke Holmes and Sienna Stephens in the new Jersey Development Company Marathon Mile.

Full report and reaction in Monday's JEP.

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