It is that time of year for the annual Samoa Events Awards.
It has been an incredibly long year with a lot of activity and action. The first event was in January and the last weekend event took place on Saturday at Falefa Falls.
In between there has been a multitude of athletes - runners, swimmers, triathletes and road cyclists who have made 2017 an outstanding year for Samoa Events.
It is now time to recognise the performances of the athletes local and overseas.
Categories for the annual Awards include Female Athlete of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year, and Overall Athlete of the Year where overseas athletes are included.
Another category is reserved to recognise outstanding local performances in Samoa Events races.
That includes local Triathlete of the Year M / F, Runner of the Year M / F (local), Junior Athlete of the Year and Junior runner of the Year.
There is one prize for the Overall Athlete of the Year chosen from all nominees and winners by Samoa Events participants.
Overall Athlete of the Year will receive a return trip for one from Samoa Events between Auckland and Apia, five nights’ accommodation for two courtesy of Taumeasina Island Resort, and a Blue Pacific funded car hire for five days.
In the local categories, most of the categories are already known with many unchallenged outstanding performances through the year.
The focus today is on outstanding performances by female athletes in the Female Athlete of the Year category. There are four nominees, incredible women and their performances.
They represent a throng of many others from around the world and here who ran, swam and cycled these islands.
Ariane Stevenson, 39 Taumeasina, SAMOA
Ariane’s four wins in four Half Marathons this year has never been done before.
Her timing was perfect, this is the first time there has been four half marathons held in Samoa in one year, two on Upolu and two on Savai’i. The other outstanding feature is all four wins are race records. Ariane won Savaii in a time of 2:04:32 and took over from Al Bern of Austria who set the record in the inaugural race last year. Next it was the new Sheraton Independence Half Marathon. She picked up her fastest time for the year with a 1:48:56. Lalomanu Half Marathon was next in line for a shaking. Maddie McGann (Aust, 1:51:22) held that record and Ariane went inside it in 1:50:58. She then set up her fourth win at the new Le Lava Half in August with a 1:54:11.
Runner of the Year
Winner Savai’i Half (April) NR
Winner Sheraton Independence Half (June) NR
Winner Lalomanu Half Marathon (July) NR
Winner Le Lava Half Marathon (Aug) NR
Christina Harris, 54 Nelson, NZL
Christina is a regular at Samoa Events races. Her first trip was in 2013 for the Pacific Open Water Challenge 10km & 5km races. She also raced in a team in the inaugural Warrior Race that year.
In 2014 Christina began to come over twice a year for the new Five Islands Swims (May) and Samoa Swim Series (July/Aug). This year she entered to swim Apolima Strait and won it convincingly. She also won the Pacific Open Water Challenge for the third time. She also finished second in the competitive Samoa Swim Series in August.
Swimmer of the Year
Winner Apolima Strait, Upolu to Savai’i 22.3km Swim (April)
Winner Pacific Open Water Challenge 10km & 5km Swims (July)
2nd Samoa Swim Series, 3 x 4km swims (Aug)
Angie Keen, 29 Wellington, NZL
Angie is a young Kiwi representative triathlete who came to Samoa for the first time this year. She raced in the Warrior Race Half Ironman race in late July to prepare for the ITU World Championships Long Course Triathlon in Canada in September. She blitzed the Warrior Race and won it over her male rivals. It is the first time a female is the overall winner of the very tough Warrior Race. Angie stayed on to compete in the Samoa Swim Series.
Overall Winner, Warrior Race Half Ironman (2km swim, 90km bike, Half Marathon) July
3rd Female, Samoa Swim Series (August)
Rebecca Marley, 30 Christchurch, NZL
Rebecca has become the most successful rider in the short history of the Ford Tour of Samoa, male or female. She now has three tour wins. Rebecca won in 2015 on her first visit, and again last year. This year, she was challenged all the way by Aucklander Katheren Leitner. The two faced each other previously on tour in 2015. Rebecca and Katheren shared the leader’s jersey with Marley holding on to it tightly and securely from day 3 to the end.
Female Cyclist of the Year
Winner, Ford Tour of Samoa