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Athletics |22 February 2024


Mr Belle giving details about Saturday’s road race (Photo: Roland Duval)

Road race back on the SAF’s calendar of events


After a long absence, road race, the sport of running on a measured course over an established road, is back on the Seychelles Athletics Federation’s calendar, with the first event scheduled to take place on Saturday.

These events are usually classified as long-distance according to athletics terminology, with races typically ranging from 5 kilometers to 42.2 kilometers (marathon).

The four most common World Athletics recognised distances for road running events are 5k runs, 10k runs, half marathons and marathons.

Saturday’s event is part of the Seychelles Athletics Federation’s (SAF) plans to rejuvenate the sport, thus bringing new, or elements that have been more or less neglected, offering enthusiasts of all ability and ages the opportunity to partake, not only for competition, but also as a means of health care activity.

Taking a closer look into the history of local athletics, road races, a very popular event of the 80s and 90s, has produced quite a number of local stars in the likes of the legendary Albert Marie, Antoine Radegonde, Gerard Esparon, Peter Anamole, Eddie Kilindo and Simon Labiche in the male category, while female athletes like the late Simone Japha, Rachel Naiken, and Florise Ernesta have also left their marks, with the latter still active in long distance races, including cross-countries.

For the past 10 years, road races have been quite dormant, with the exception of the annual Eco-Healing Seychelles Marathon, organised by the National Sports Council (NSC), the Seychelles honorary consul in South Korea in conjunction with the Seychelles Tourism Board and Creole Holidays.

Sadly, the event is no longer in existence.

We have also witnessed several non-competitive commemoration races, such ‘La Course de la Francophonie’, and lately personal charity project of enthusiastic runner Joel Melanie, aimed at raising funds for financially-struggling associations towards infrastructure development or other facilities to provide long-term support for Seychellois families and children.

Speaking about re-launching road races, executive committee member of the SAF Fabien Belle explained that road race being an integral element of athletics – long-distance – they have found it appropriate to re-introduce it, giving athletes more options in terms of competition.

For Saturday’s event, Mr Belle said there will be different categories, including seniors (male and female), U-18 and U-20 (male and female), masters (male and female), as well as an U-16 category where the participants should not be less than 15 years of age.

He added that the event which will start at 3pm at Stad Popiler comes with interesting cash prizes, while all those who would like to volunteer in officiating can contact the SAF office at Stad Popiler on 4225958.


Roland Duval

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