Run 138 : St. Kitts & Nevis – Basseterre

rtw st kitts 2

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Date : 25th  March, 2018

Time :  55’ 41”

Number of runners : 16

Total distance run to date : 1380 km

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2609070976

“Basseterre? You might want to run a little faster than usual there, it’s the murder capital of the world,” said Luke.

I’m used to people telling me to be careful but Basseterre, the capital of St Kitts & Nevis? Really?

I assumed Luke was winding me up but it turns out that he was sort of right. It did have a problem – particularly in 2011 when there were 17 murders. Which, at the time, meant it had the highest murder rate in the world. (It’s a small place.) Famously, the BBC even ran a – much derided locally – report on it.

My research suggests that the security situation has improved a lot since those days (pls see Facts & Stats below for more detail.) And certainly, I can’t tell you I felt any sense of menace as we sat there having dinner on the night I arrived. Especially after having run in places like Caracas (Venezuela) – at or near the top of most lists of dangerous cities these days – and Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea).

It helped that I had good company. Including Jeff Fazio who, in 2013-14, ran 5km in every state in the USA to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Jeff now runs 5km in every country he visits and, not entirely unexpectedly, we had a lot to talk about – including the best way to run 5km in the Vatican.*

Jeff’s approach was to run round the outside of the Vatican’s borders and I may well follow in his footsteps – literally. However, I’m also wondering about asking for permission to run in St Peter’s Square (so please do get in touch if you happen to know anyone senior in the Catholic Church!)

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Then there was Terry-Ann, Jeff’s wife. Terry-Ann hails from Trinidad & Tobago and ran 5km in 17’ 34” as a junior. Which is pretty impressive by my, and frankly anyone’s, standards.  (To put that in context, the women’s world record is 14’ 11”.)

The fourth diner was Heather Hotchin who is On-Sec of the St Kitts Hash House Harriers.  As ‘Blade Runner’ (David Ridsdale-Saw) told me the following day, the St Kitts Hash House Harriers are no normal kennel and have been known to attract over 250 people to their hashes. Which must make them one of the largest hashes in the world.

Jeff and Heather had been good enough to put their heads together and had come up with a great route for the following morning’s run. We started at Ross University Veterinary School where, after a few photos, we lined up behind Jeff on his bike

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and set off for Basseterre,

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via the coast and the cruise ships.

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Once in Basseterre, we turned left at the first ever traffic lights on the island – which had only had been in place since Christmas  –

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towards the historic centre. Our route took us through Piccadilly Circus – which had more clock towers but fewer tourists and Eros statues than its London namesake –

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–  to Independence Square.

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Independence Square is the administrative centre of Basseterre and was once the site of the St Kitts slave market. Apparently there are still tunnels under the surrounding road which were used to move slaves from their holding pens to the market. Horrific.

From there we went back to the coast before turning inland for the dreaded 8th kilometre. I say ‘dreaded’, partly because it’s always about the worst kilometre in any of these runs. And partly because it coincided with a 1 kilometre long hill.

On the plus side, somewhere along the way, and after some sweet talking by Jeff, we’d picked up a police escort. I suspect this was more because they were wondering what was going on rather than because they felt I needed protection. Either way, I had to feel for them – it can’t be easy driving at the speed I was running up that hill..

“Well, I’m running, police on my back.”**

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From the top of Kilometre 8 Hill (as its certainly not known locally), we ran downhill to Frigate Bay which is the main tourist area and home to a couple of fine beaches. And Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack Beach Bar & Grill which was both our finish line and our breakfast venue.

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All that remains is for me to thank my fellow runners for both their company and their generous donations to Cancer Research. And, of course, a very special thanks to Jeff, Heather, Terry-Ann, David and everyone else from the St Kitts Hash for all their hospitality and for organising a great run!

Finally, I’m obviously not an expert on security in St Kitts but, based on everything I saw and heard, its a lovely, relaxed place to visit. And, if you do visit, don’t forget to go hashing!

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*Strictly speaking the Vatican isn’t one of the countries I have to visit as it’s not a member of the Olympic movement. However, as it’s about the only place which might be considered to be a country, and which isn’t part of the Olympic movement, I plan to run there anyway. After all, I’d hate to be known as the person who’s run 10 km in every country in the world. Apart from one….

**This week’s obscure musical reference inspired by Dee Rooke. Usual prize on offer etc

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is an island country in the West Indies. Located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, it is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere, in both area and population. The country is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

The capital city is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller island of Nevis lies approximately 3 km (2 mi) southeast of Saint Kitts across a shallow channel called “The Narrows”.

Saint Kitts and Nevis were among the first islands in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean, and thus has also been titled “The Mother Colony of the West Indies”.

Although small in size and separated by only 2 miles (3 km) of water, the two islands were viewed and governed as different states until the late 19th century, when they were forcibly unified along with the island of Anguilla, by the British. To this day relations are strained, with Nevis accusing Saint Kitts of neglecting its needs.

Saint Kitts and Nevis along with Anguilla, became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. Anguillians rebelled and separated from the others in 1977. St. Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. It is the newest sovereign state in the Americas. In August 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from St. Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.

Crime in Saint Kitts and Nevis

In 2012 Saint Kitts and Nevis had a homicide rate of 33.6 per 100,000 citizens, the 8th highest in the world. As of 2011 Basseterre had the highest murder rate of any capital city in the world at 131.6 per 100,000 inhabitants (a total of 17 murders in the city that year).

Since 2011 measures and precautions have been placed by the government that have reduced the number of murders. The Saint Kitts government has also claimed that these measures more than halved crime during that period although this claim has been viewed sceptically by independent organizations.

Vaguely music related obscure fact : Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, was born in Nevis; he spent his childhood there and on St. Croix, then belonging to Denmark, and now one of the United States Virgin Islands.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for St. Kitts & Nevis – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP                                               $910 m     2016       $421 m      2000

Population                                   55 k           2016       45 k           2000

Primary school enrolment*     NA                             NA

CO2 Emissions**                         4.3             2014       3.8             2000

% below poverty line***           NA                             NA

Life expectancy at birth            NA                             71.3 yrs    2000

GNI per capita                             $15690      2016       $8630        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  St Kitts & Nevis 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.

 

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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 - https://www.justgiving.com/Dan-Thompson11/ - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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2 Responses to Run 138 : St. Kitts & Nevis – Basseterre

  1. Danielle says:

    It looks like a lovely place. I’m on my way to Port Moresby so great to be thinking of the crime rate! 🙂

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