They are the Islanders who took part yesterday in one of the three road races so impressively organised under the general banner of the Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon, an event now firmly established as a highlight of the community calendar.
In brilliant contrast to last year’s soggy spectacular, the 2009 races were favoured with the best weather of an Indian summer which, like the event itself, has helped to lift our spirits towards the end of a generally stressful year.
For some runners, the challenge was to complete the full 26.2 miles of the classic marathon; for others, the effort was a communal one as they and their team-mates tackled the miles in relay sections; for still others, including many with disabilities, the JEP-sponsored Fun Run combined light relief, fancy dress and serious endeavour in a three-kilometre package.
This year’s event also demonstrated what a valuable public amenity the new Weighbridge square, as yet officially unnamed, is turning out to be. Its open space, central location and greatly improved surroundings, a world away from the run-down old bus station it replaced, added greatly to the community atmosphere and further reinforced the growing success and significance of this annual event.
The Jersey Marathon is one of several sponsored and organised by Standard Chartered around the world. The first took place here just three years ago but it has already joined the short list of major events, such as the Battle of Flowers and Jersey Live, that can both unite Islanders and attract visitors and international attention.
Organising a marathon is a marathon undertaking in itself and Standard Chartered, whose local staff from the top executives downwards are fully and enthusiastically immersed in the project, deserve the Island’s thanks and congratulations.
Congratulations go too to everyone who took part yesterday, raising thousands for charities in the process. Marathons, and their junior relations, are vehicles for self-belief, excellence, team spirit and personal development – all qualities which must ultimately benefit any community which hosts this crowning showpiece of athletic aspiration.