This Sunday, 2nd October, the annual Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon 2022 is taking place. It is an international running event that brings together the local community and raises vital funds for charity.
Standard Chartered Futuremakers charity is the official global beneficiary, which tackles inequality and promotes greater economic inclusion for young people in our communities.
The event welcomes runners of all ages and ability on and off the Island, inviting them to run either a marathon, a marathon as part of a relay team or the family fun run mile across the beautiful Jersey countryside.
Every runner has a story. Over the next two days, this year’s participants share theirs. Today, we meet Joe and Sophia…
Joachim (Joe) Benford from Suffolk (UK)
Whilst training for my second marathon in 2015, I had the idea that it may be fun to try and complete a marathon for each letter of the alphabet before I reached 50 years old. Once the seed was sown, I started to tick them off gradually. Once I got to my tenth in Athens (2018), I decided that I’d like to try and complete the challenge by the time I was 40 years old instead (Aug 2025) and started to plot out the remaining letters.
Jersey was always likely to be ‘my J’, as it allows me to tick off another letter, and visit somewhere new at the same time.
After I hopefully manage to complete Jersey, I will have just three left. I have one booked in December in Elsecar (Yorkshire), and my penultimate one that I have recently booked up is in Uganda in June 2023. Running on the equator in June! Which will leave just one left to complete the alphabet.
It is the first time running the Jersey Marathon. This particular alphabet marathon challenge allows me to combine two of my favourite things, exercise / running and travel. Throughout the challenge, I have managed to visit new places across the UK and further afield. I’m really looking forward to visiting Jersey, not only to run the marathon, but to see what the Island has to offer.
Marathon training has gone fairly well. I don’t tend to cope in the heat very well, so marathon training through the summer isn’t ideal. So, plenty of early morning runs around 5am before the day got too warm. I have my 22nd marathon (Norfolk coast) only eight days prior to Jersey, so much of the training has been focused around endurance, and back-to-back long runs, to feel as comfortable as possible running on ‘heavy’ legs.
I first started to run in 2013, when I stopped playing football (constantly getting injured!). It allowed me to exercise around changing work commitments and coincided with the time I got married and started our family. Running allows me to get out and ‘keep fit’, whenever a 30 minute or hour window of time presents itself, without much pre-planning and keeping precious time free for quality family time. From there, the benefits have been as much about my mental health (my own time to unwind and switch off), as well as the physical benefits that come with running also.
I’m really looking forward to the Jersey Marathon. My advice to others is go into the run with the aim to enjoy it – there will have been months of training and hard work that got you to this point, so the least you can do is try and soak up the atmosphere and acknowledge all the hard work you have put in. Embrace the hard times that will undoubtedly come throughout the 26.2 miles and keep going through them.
I’ve found with each of my marathons to date, that every single one is different, regardless of the preparation you put into it. Don’t be afraid to reassess your goal during the run, if things aren’t going to plan and you’re not likely to hit your time or ‘A’ goal, be prepared to move to your ‘B’ goal. Throughout my previous 22, there have been some where I’ve had to move from goal A, to B, and to C.
Sophia Girichidis from Surrey (UK)
This year I am returning to the island for a special milestone run, my 100th marathon! When a friend, already a member of the 100 Marathon Club, asked me over a year ago where I’d like to run my 100th marathon – an event that still seemed so very far away – my answer came without hesitation: Jersey.
I have run the Jersey Marathon before, in person in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and the Run from Home version in 2020*.
What draws me to the Jersey Marathon and Jersey itself, is that I love the island, the course and how friendly everyone is. It’s a wonderful event. I also really like the Corbière Lighthouse and spotting it along the way is a highlight for me.
Whilst running marathons over the last two years, I’ve met some wonderful people, now close friends. We have encouraged and celebrated each other’s running achievements ever since. I am thrilled they decided to join me for this special run.
I have run for a number of charities over the years and have found it to be greatly motivating. Running for those who can’t is a privilege. It has and continues to teach me that I am capable of much more than the limits I once considered to be mine. But there is more to running than going faster or further than before – the running community is like family where inspiration and encouragement, support and celebration are only ever one step away.
With not long left to go now, I’m feeling excited about the Jersey Marathon. As for advice to fellow runners, I’d say enjoy! The training is done and no matter how it went, don’t let it spoil your race day experience. Slow down if needed, connect with supporters and fellow runners and simply enjoy the course, and atmosphere.
*Note: the mass participation Jersey Marathon event did not go ahead in 2020 due to the ongoing Government restrictions down to Covid-19, it was replaced by the Standard Chartered Run from Home Challenge.
The Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon will be held on Sunday 2 October 2022. The start and finish point is at Weighbridge Place, St Helier. The Marathon starts at 09.00s, the Ravenscroft Relay Race at 09.30s and the Marathon Mile starts at 10.00.
All funds raised by runners in the 2022 Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon will be split equally between St John Ambulance Jersey and Standard Chartered’s own global initiative Futuremakers.
Click here for more information about the Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon.