Conor’s Freedom Run on Montserrat

A Coleraine runner has taken part in the ‘Freedom Run’ on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 10:47 am

Springwell Running Club member Conor McStravick is currently working on Montserrat where there is an annual race on St Patrick’s Day known as the ‘Freedom Run’.

The run doesn’t actually celebrate St Patrick’s Day but takes place to remember how slaves attempted an uprising in 1768 against the English and Irish plantation owners, believing that the St Patrick’s Day celebrations would afford them a distraction and increase their chances of success.

This year the race, like so many events around the world, has been cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the associated restrictions.

Conor at the Cudjoe tree

However, on March 6, Conor, along with some of his work colleagues, organised their own Covid compliant charity run where they were joined by the Governor of Monserrat, Andy Pearce.

The starting point for the run was at the Cudjoe Tree on Cudjoe Head, a historical location with a very dark history as it was from this tree that the leader of the slave uprising, ‘Cudjoe’ was executed.

With clear skies and the temperature around 27C the route then took the runners on a very hilly course through Montserrat to Salem Village and their finish at the Salem Cricket ground in the foothills of the Soufriere Volcano.

The participants’ efforts on the day saw them raising money to pay for an entertainer to perform at the Golden Years Older Persons home on Monserrat as well as for a charity in North Yorkshire. The charity is the Open Nest located near Whitby which supports families and individuals living with the consequences of

traumatic events.

Montserrat is believd to be the only country in the world other than Ireland where St Patrick’s Day is considered a public holiday. The celebrations, which bring together residents of Montserrat and its neighboring Antigua and Guadeloupe, involve educational talks, cultural events, troupes of masquerade dancers, and not to mention plenty of parties.