Club Reunion on Jersey

By Sandy Hugill

The Marathon Globetrotters landed on Jersey in October for the club’s 2nd Annual Meeting and Reunion. Jersey is a Channel Island off the coast of Normandy, France, but it has British ties. Jersey is politically independent but maintains a connection to the British Crown. On the island, the currency is the Jersey Pound, but regular British Pounds are accepted equally. Jersey was chosen as the location of the Marathon Globetrotters reunion as it was easily reachable by many of the club’s European members, and was a new continent in the rotation of reunion locations. Additionally, few club members had run a marathon in Jersey, so it would count as a new country for most members.

Most club members arrived on Jersey the Friday or Saturday before the marathon. Though technically the off-season for island tourism, the weather was mild and provided some opportunities for sightseeing. The island’s business center is located in the village of St. Helier and this was the location of the marathon start and finish area, in Liberation Square. Most club members chose to stay at the Globetrotters head- quarters hotel, the Pomme d’Or, which was directly adjacent to the square, and this made for very convenient race logistics. The Marathon Globetrotters Annual Meeting was held at the Pomme d’Or on Saturday afternoon. Club elections and other business were conducted, followed by a group photo.

The official pasta dinner was held in the race tent in Liberation Square directly following the meeting, and many club members attended. This was a wonderful opportunity for members from around the world to meet for the first time, or to rekindle friendships with fellow club members. Pasta portions were generous and included dessert; there was also an opportunity to purchase beer or cider.

Sunday morning, race day started out dry with mild temperatures and a slight threat of rain. Marathoners and marathon-distance relay teams started at the same time. There was also a 3K fun run with a separate start. Marathon Globetrotters gathered at the finish line for a pre-race club photo before checking their bags and lining up in the corrals. There was only one wave of starters, given the size of the field (there were 401 marathon finishers and 261 relay teams that finished). The race was chip- timed with the type of chip runners attach to their shoelaces, which may or may not have been a successful choice. Our Kevin Brosi claims to have found three “lost” chips on the course. Modern technology is nice, when it stays on your shoe.

The course first wound through the center of St. Helier. In town it was possible to see several fellow Marathon Globetrotters before the pack spread out. And here, our own Anders Forselius, from Sweden, took many photo- graphs for his Runners World Sweden article. This was one of the few sections of the course with spectators.

Upon leaving St. Helier, the course headed north and in a somewhat counter-clockwise loop. Runners passed through other villages on the island and through farmland. The first several miles were uphill adding a degree of difficulty to the course. Eventually, the hills became rolling, both up- and downhill. In the later miles, a dirt running and cycling trail provided a scenic and slightly down- hill portion of the course. Because it was a single loop with no out & back sections, it was unlikely to see other Globetrotters unless you were passing them or they were passing you.

The final miles of the marathon were run along the sea- wall on St. Aubin’s Bay on the south shore of the island. For three miles you could see St. Helier, and gradually it became closer as you ran toward the finish in Liberation Square. Many runners reported difficulties on this last leg of the marathon, as there was now a strong headwind. And finishing into the wind after a hilly course was all the more challenging for those Globetrotters who had run a marathon the previous weekend (several Globetrotters had run in Berlin, or at one of the other many European marathons held the last week of September).

The finish line was welcoming for all Marathon Globetrotters. We had very fast members as well as back-of-the-pack members, and all were guaranteed a finish regardless of time, as long as they went the distance. This is one of the many wonderful things about the Marathon Globetrotters : the club selects races with generous time limits in order to be inclusive of members of all different paces. One of our faster members, and a top flag-earner at 90 countries, was Brent Weigner from Wyoming, USA. Brent’s approach to the finish chute is probably one he would like to forget, as he took a fall on the cobblestones. Fellow Globetrotter John Lum Young helped Brent up. Brent still finished the race with a chip time of 4:22:53, and his facial injury was patched up with surgical glue in the medical tent.

The tent at the finish became the place for runners to pick up their goody bags containing a finisher shirt, medal, a Mars Bar and tickets for post-race food and drink. This race took care of its participants by offering both a beef burger and a veggie burger, and allowing each finisher one beer or cider. Additional beverages or food items were available for purchase. And the good news, there was still food left for the slower finishers.

While runners warmed up and ate their post-race meals, the race organizers conducted the awards ceremony in the tent. This whole time, several Marathon Globetrotters once again had an opportunity to share a meal and some conversation with each other.

The rain finally came, but not until the race festivities had concluded. By this time, most of the club members were back to their hotels to clean up for dinner...or for sleep, as required. A few members had to fly out that evening, but others met up for one last dinner together.

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