UK runner Tom Booth targeting a win at Le Lava Half in Manase
Two top runners one from the United Kingdom and the other from Auckland, New Zealand are targeting the inaugural Le Lava Half Marathon at Itu-o-Tane next weekend.
Dan Jones of Auckland and Tom Booth of Cheshire, UK are aiming to be crowned Le Lava Half Marathon Champion. One has youth on his side, the other a better PB time in the distance.
The race is the fourth Half Marathon to be held in Samoa this year organised by Samoa Events.
Dan and Tom do not know of each other, but both are keen to secure the win next Saturday morning.
Tom, 24, is an outdoor Educator and his passion is running. He has many long distance trail running titles under his trail belt from around the world including Canada, New Zealand and in his native UK.
His personal best time (PB) in the half is 1hr22m54s. His aim is to duplicate that time or better it next week.
His PB’s in other races include 16m45s for 5km, 38m in the 10km distance and a trail Marathon in Canada at 3hr59m38s.
Chasing him will be Dan Jones, 35, whose PB is quicker at 1:17:50. His expectations for Saturday is a leisurely 1h30min.
Should Tom run 1h22mins he is aiming for, it will be the fastest Half Marathon time in Samoa this year.
In comparison, our national half marathon record stands at 1:19:00 (2000, Darren Young). The fastest Half this year is 1:29:39 by Kuniyoshi Watanabe (Japan) at Lalomanu.
The race between these two men is worth the admission ticket alone. But they have something else in common.
Their wives are named Kate and Katie who are also traveling with their men to Samoa for the race.
In the case of Daniel and Kate Jones, they are also booked to compete in the three swims of the 6th Samoa Swim Series that starts next week.
Dan will have his work cut out though. The Half Marathon is on the morning of the final Swim of the Series from Le Lagoto to Jane’s Bar.
The half marathon starts.finishes at Manase at Tanu Beach Fales, and goes via the Lava Fields at Sale'aula village to the turnaround at Mauga village.
Dan and Tom will be joined by many others, local and international competing in other distances – 10km, 6km and 3km.
Ariane Stevenson the darling of Samoa running at the moment is also competing. She is chasing her fourth Half win this year. Should she win, Ariane will hold all four Half Marathon titles in Samoa in one calendar year, a feat that will not be easily undone by anyone in the future.
The 10km race turns around at Sale’aula border with Sato’alepai. The 6km run turns around at Le Lagoto. And the Savaii Samoa Tourism Authority (S.S.T.A.) 3KM walk is a direct one way walk or run from Le Lagoto to Manase.
The race means Samoa now holds four Half Marathons during the year – Lalomanu, Savaii Marathon, Le Lava and Independence Half. As well, there are two full marathons on Savaii in April and the Independence Marathon.
Samoa Events’ enthusiasm for running goes well with its vision to make Samoa the Action Capital of the South Pacific.
More running Events are planned for 2018 including a 10-Day Run Series that will take in the best running courses on both Islands. Watch this space.
Best Half Marathon times in 2017
1:29:39 Kuniyoshi Watanabe, Lalomanu Half
1:33:52 Tueffy Tuigamala, Savaii Marathon
1:36:03 Darren Young, Independence Marathon
1:48:56 Ariane Stevenson, Indepdence Half Marathon
1:50:58 Ariane Stevenson, Lalomanu Half
2:04:32 Ariane Stevenson, Savaii Marathon
Best 10KM in 2017
Andrew Sexton (NZL) 40:43 Lalomanu Half Marathon
Theresa Philips (Aust) 56:56 Independence Half Marathon
In my other life, I cover the All Blacks, Boxing, watch the Weather and of course manage Samoa Events