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An undeterred runner and fundraiser has set up her own half marathon event in Haiti after an official run was cancelled at the last minute.

The official run, organised by Let’s Go Haiti, was cancelled due to US Government travel warnings which greatly affected participation.

Naming the new run the ‘Holden Haiti Half’, organiser Jane Holden has planned everything from security measures to the route for her half marathon solo-run.

Jane Holden will be running to raise awareness and funds for the Andrew Grene Foundation (AGF).

Running in Haiti, for Haiti

Jane Holden, 51 from South Leicestershire, planned to run a half marathon on 25th February in Haiti through an organisation called Let’s Go Haiti.

Jane said “The run fell on my birthday weekend and I had already planned a few meetings in Haiti on behalf of the AGF, so the timing of the run felt like fate.

“I was asking friends and family to donate what they would have spent on birthday cards or chocolate on a small donation instead.

“I had planned for the fundraising money I raised to go towards the AGF education project, specifically a new sports court, with my target being £1,000.”

Just weeks before the event, the organisers announced that the event was cancelled.

Official race cancelled due to ‘travel warnings greatly affecting participation’

On the organiser’s Facebook page, they stated that:

The race has been cancelled due to travel warning issued by several government sites in particular the US and Canada which has greatly affected participation.”

Jane also suggests that ongoing scaremongering tactics could have contributed to a low turnout for the official run that had been run for over 5 years.

Jane continues, “I was devastated to hear that the official run had been cancelled.

“Instead of accepting it, I was determined to do it even more.

“I wasn’t going to give up on Haiti.”

Organising a safe run in Haiti

Jane contacted the security company used by the AGF, and explained that she wanted to run a half marathon on her own in Haiti. Although they were initially hesitant about it, Jane did not take no for an answer.

Together Jane and the security team negotiated a plan to make her vision of a half marathon in Haiti a reality.

“With the security team’s support, we have organised a safe route, staying out of areas that have been raised with security concerns in the city.

“There will also be a body guard closely escorting me in a car for added security.”

Going the extra mile

When considering her options after the official run was cancelled, Jane felt it was unacceptable to give up, to run in the UK or on a treadmill in Haiti:

“Sure, I could have just said that I’d run a half marathon in my hotel on a treadmill instead and let that be the end of it. But it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.

“I was set on running a half marathon in Haiti, for Haiti and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

“I’m running on my own this year with the help of my security team. But if it’s successful, I hope to organise a public event where runners can join me next year.”

Listen to Jane’s live interview with the BBC

Why not listen to Jane’s interview with BBC Leicesters – Emma Boydell – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05vm94h#playt=101m21s , you could then listen to a little bit of Dusty Springfield or skip straight to the second half of the interview http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05vm94h#playt=112m27s . This recording is available until 12th March 2018

Jane has set up her Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/janeshothaitihalf where people can donate to the AGF to support her half marathon in Haiti.