Tom and Dan chase the inaugural Le Lava Half Marathon title

By Seti Afoa 27 July 2017, 12:00AM

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 both aiming to be crowned the Le Lava Champion.  

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 home country the 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 on Saturday is a leisurely 1hr30min.

In comparison, our national half marathon record stands at 1:19:00 (2000, Darren Young). 

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 which 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 at Manase at Tanu Beach Fales, and goes all the way past the Lava Fields. The turnaround is at Mauga village and the finish back at Manase.  

Dan and Tom will be joined by many others, local and international competing in the 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.

There are more running events for Samoa Events. Next month two runners, one of which is a NZ Herald travel writer will be traveling to test Phase one of the Samoa National Trails from Lalomanu to Falefa Falls. 

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. Watch this space.

By Seti Afoa 27 July 2017, 12:00AM

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