Good turnout for half-marathon in honour of marathon record holder Simone Zapha |06 April 2021
Two days after Seychelles’ female marathon record holder Simone Dick born Zapha was laid to rest, local long-distance runners took part in a half-marathon in her memory.
Organised on Saturday, the Simone Zapha Memorial half-marathon started and ended at Stad Popiler, the garden of local track and field athletics, where Simone spent a lot of her time training and competing.
The two winners were Maggy Harray (women) in 2 hours 01 minute 37 seconds (2h01:37) and Iven Moïse (men) in 1h19:11. They each received a trophy presented by Giovanna Rousseau and sponsored by the latter who is also the director of the Eco-Friendly races.
In total, 29 runners – 15 men and 12 women – completed the distance of 21 kilometres. As for Rakesh Harikasun he walked over 10 kilometres in 2h08:43.
Speaking to Sports NATION, Ms Rousseau, who was the National Sports Council (NSC) chief executive from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018, said she wants the Simone Zapha Memorial half-marathon to become an annual event.
“There is an active group of runners who run almost daily and when they learned that Simone had died still so young, they proposed that we organise a race in her honour,” said Ms Rousseau.
Female marathon record holder Simone Zapha passed away on Friday March 26, 2021, three days after her 44thbirthday.
She had been absent from the running tracks and roads since 2019 when she started feeling unwell and despite following treatment locally and overseas she did not regain her health.
Born on March 23, 1977, Simone is the women’s record holder of the Eco-Friendly Marathon with a time of 3 hours 30 minutes 19 seconds (3h30:19) set in 2009. In fact, Zapha won the race for three consecutive years – 2009 (3h30:19), 2010 (3h37:31) and 2011 (3h39:10).
Running her first marathon in ideal condition, she sliced 12 minutes 06 seconds (12:06) off Rachel Esparon’s previous best of 3h42:25 – both Seychelles senior and veteran records – set during the Fifth Indian Ocean Islands Games in 1998 in Reunion.
“I’m happy I did it. I did not expect to get the record. I was expecting a 3h45 finish,” a smiling Zapha told Sports NATION after the gruelling race.
“I felt good and when I reached Carana on the way back to the finish line, I was well inside the record pace. So I decided to go for it,” added the athlete who was 31 years old at that time.
In fact, Zapha is also the holder of the Seychelles women’s marathon record of 3h34:49 which she got during the Ekolomarathon in Tampon, Reunion in early July 2009.
Although she cruised to victory in the Eco-Friendly marathon in 3h30:19 that same year, her time was not ratified as a new Seychelles record by the Seychelles Athletics Federation.
Zapha also holds the Seychelles half-marathon record of 1h30:26 set on September 23, 2006.
The female finishers of 21km race:
1. Maggy Harray 2h01:37
2 Brenda Larue 2h02:52
3. Vivienne Vadivello 2h08:31
4. Anita Amasogno 2h16:58
5. Patricia Gonzalez 2h20:56
6. Zsaklin Miklos 2h22:45
7. Florise Ernesta 2h28:07
8. Ariana Memée 2h41:34
9. Erica Charles 2h43:59
10. Veronique Marengo 3h20:22
11. Jourdanne Marie 4h11:06
12 Monettte Labrosse 4h11:06
The male finishers of 21km race:
1. Iven Moïse 1h19:11
2 Vivian Rassool 1h40:23
3. Noah Chilinda 1h41:29
4. Mervin Elizabeth 1h43:49
5. Michael Bijoux 1h44:48
6. Nagarajan Gnana Pragasam 1h50:46
7. Bernard Ngulube 1h52:32
8. Alain Bizmohun 1h59:09
9. Houssam Ajib 1h59:09
10. Joshua Momanyi 2h00:54
11. Keven Larue 2h03:14
12 Archil Mondon 2h11:00
13 Vincent Confait 2h16:55
14 Joel Melanie 2h34:54
15 Edwin Constance h41:09