Run 118 : Vanuatu – Port Vila

rtw vanuatu 5

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Date : 22nd August, 2017

Time :  58’ 45”

Number of runners : 1

Total distance run to date : 1180 km

Run map and details :

You can immediately tell that Vanuatu is a little more developed and sophisticated than, say, the Solomon Islands where I’d run the previous day. There’s a big advertisement by the luggage carousel telling you that when George and Fanny – a European couple from the 1920s to judge by the accompanying graphic – come to town, George only has one thing on his mind. The local casino. (Not sure the joke works for anyone who’s not English..)

I don’t know how credible this all is. But then, to be fair, I’ve never met George and Fanny so who am I to say.

rtw vanuatu 10

Putting aside any concerns about the state of George and Fanny’s relationship, I set off on my run. A little later than I’d ideally have liked. Mostly because some idiot had left my passport at the airport and I had to make an unexpected and somewhat nervy trip back to the airport to retrieve it. (My thanks to the team at Chantillys by the Bay for the emergency lift.)

rtw vanuatu 2

All of this meant that, shortly after I started running, it got dark. Not a problem for Fanny and George because, as I understand these things, the lighting in casinos stays the same whatever the time of night or day.

More of a problem for me, though, as the street lighting in Port Vila tends to be concentrated in the centre of town. Which is to say that there isn’t any outside of the centre.

Never mind, I thought. This is a town with a big casino and is bound to be packed with bars and restaurants. I can choose where to go for dinner as I run in circles round around the nightlife district. Except there weren’t really many bars and restaurants. Or a whole lot else.

To be honest, it was a slightly dull slog of a run that, as the picture of Port Vila below suggests, would no doubt have been much better in daylight.

rtw vanuatu 4

And, umm, that’s about it. I’ve worked the George and Fanny riff about as hard as I can and I don’t really have anything else to say. Still, dear reader, as they say, brevity is a virtue!

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Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Vanuatu is a Pacific island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 540 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.

Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people. The first Europeans to visit the islands were a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Fernandes de Queirós, who arrived on the largest island in 1606. Since the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies had been unified under the king of Spain in 1580 (following the vacancy of the Portuguese throne, which lasted for sixty years, until 1640, when the Portuguese monarchy was restored), Queirós claimed the archipelago for Spain, as part of the colonial Spanish East Indies, and named it La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo.

In the 1880s, France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the archipelago, and in 1906, they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago as the New Hebrides through an Anglo–French condominium.

Challenges to the condominium government began in the early 1940s. The arrival of Americans during the Second World War, with their informal habits and relative wealth, contributed to the rise of nationalism in the islands. The belief in a mythical messianic figure named John Frum was the basis for an indigenous cargo cult (a movement attempting to obtain industrial goods through magic) promising Melanesian deliverance. Today, John Frum is both a religion and a political party with a member in Parliament.

The first political party, established in the early 1970s, was called the New Hebrides National Party. One of the founders was Father Walter Lini, who later became Prime Minister. Renamed the Vanua’aku Pati in 1974, the party pushed for independence, which was gained amidst the brief Coconut War.

The independent Republic of Vanuatu was established in 1980.

During the 1990s, Vanuatu experienced a period of political instability which resulted in a more decentralised government. The Vanuatu Mobile Force, a paramilitary group, attempted a coup in 1996 because of a pay dispute. There were allegations of corruption in the government of Maxime Carlot Korman. New elections have been held several times since 1997, most recently in 2016.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Vanuatu – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP                                              $774 m     2016      $272 m    2000

Population                                  270 k        2016      185 k        2000

Primary school enrolment*    120 %       2015      120 %      2000

CO2 Emissions**                        0.60          2014      0.46          2000

% below poverty line***          12.7 %      2010      NA

Life expectancy at birth           72.0 yrs    2015     67.6 yrs   2000

GNI per capita                             $3170       2014     $1430      2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While most of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how  Vanuatu performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.



About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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