13 Laps Around Vigie Stretch.
CRUISE marathoners are coming back to St. Lucia for the second edition of Southern Caribbean Challenge.
In January 2016, a group of 36 marathon runners, including 10 World Record holders, ran the inaugural event which was organized by The Ministry of Tourism with the help of a local running club.
This year again, the group includes runners from around the world with exceptional running resumes. Founder & CEO of Z Adventures, Ziyad Rahim, confirmed that runners from 10 different countries will be part of the 7 marathons in 6 countries adventure. The oldest competitor is 74 years old while the youngest is 9.
The Southern Caribbean Challenge started with a marathon in Puerto Rico on January 29. Runners l then boarded the cruise ship CARNIVAL FASCINATION and headed to the first destination, St. Thomas. After St. Thomas, they ran the 3rd marathon on a 183m running track on the cruise ship while travelling to Barbados. The marathon entails running 233 rounds of the track; possibly the hardest of the races due to repetition and moving ship.
Yesterday, they reached Barbados and took part in the Carlisle Bay Marathon. From there, they will travel to St. Lucia, St. Kitts and finally complete the challenge in Sint Maarten.
The marathon in St. Lucia is once again organized by The Department of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting with support from the Department of Youth Development & Sports. The runners will arrive in Saint Lucia today and will immediately head to ‘The Sab’ Playing field to complete a 13 lap race along the Vigie Stretch. The race will begin at 8:30 a.m.
Notable athletes include:
John Wallace (USA): World Record holder in marathon running. He has run a marathon in 130 countries and all 7 continents. No other runner has run in more countries than him. John is also the president of Marathon Country Club. St. Lucia will be country # 131 for him.
Rich Holmes (USA): Has run 599 marathons in 94 countries and on all 7 continents. He will aim to run his 600th marathon on this trip.
Henrik Franijeur (Denmark): After being overweight for majority of his adult life, he switched to long-distance running. He has completed 313 marathons around the world. Last year ran 70 marathons.
Janos & Edit Kiss (Hungary): Husband and wife team who run marathons around the world. Janos has completed a marathon in 86 countries and all 7 continents; while his wife Edit has run a marathon in 69 countries.
Charlotte Poulsen (Denmark): She has so far completed 287 marathons (mostly in Europe)
John Ward (UK): He is a member of Royal Air Force and runs marathons to raise money for charity. He is planning to complete a 100 marathons to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Royal Air Force.
John Lum Young (Trinidad): A famous marathon globetrotter from the Caribbean. To-date, John has completed 69 marathons in 26 countries and is aiming to complete a marathon in at least 50 countries before hanging his trainers.
Ikepo Osawaye (Nigeria): 47 year old, who until two years ago was diagnosed as obese. She completely changed her lifestyle and took up running. Since then she has lost over 100 pounds and is now regularly taking part in long-distance events. On the Southern Caribbean Challenge, she will attempt her first official half marathon.
Mekaal Rahim & Zara Rahim (Canada): Youngest competitors at 9 and 10 years old. Mekaal completed his first half marathon at the age of 8. Both Zara and Mekaal have run over 30 long-distance events around the world. This will be their 2nd time coming for the Southern Caribbean Challenge. Last year, both ran 10K on all the islands and now they are both aiming to run a half marathon.
Lise Friis (Denmark): Completed 125 marathons in Europe and will be accompanied by her husband.
Other notable athletes who will run one of two marathons on the trip:
Dr. Klaus Westphal (Germany): He will be joining us again for the challenge. Last year, he ran in St. Lucia which was his country # 109. Since then, he has now run a marathon in 128 countries.
Ziyad Rahim (Pakistan): Apart from coining the idea of cruise challenges, Ziyad holds 10 Guinness World Records in long-distance running. He has run a marathon in 40+ countries and is the only athlete in the world to have completed a half marathon, full marathon and an ultramarathon on all 7 continents. In 2015, he took 36 runners from around the world to completed 7 marathons on 7 continents in the shortest time. The challenge was completed in 10 days and in the process 15 Guinness World Records were broken. His next adventure is the Southern African Challenge, where he will take runners on a 9 day challenge to run marathons in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia & Botswana.