Be part of our Run Team, our Fun Team, come as a Supporter, and/or be part of our Volunteer Group who help to change the lives of children while on this incredible tropical adventure.

This life-changing adventure includes the following:
1. Participation in Vanuatu's Independance Day Relay 

The relay is 150km around the island, divided into 10 sections. Each team has 10 participants who do one section each. Sections range from 11.6km to 16km.

In 2001, JUMP START was the first International team ever to participate in this event, and since then Getaways1we have taken part in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 & 2014. The Vanuatu Island Relay is part of the Independence Day celebrations for Vanuatu. It signifies the linking of the local people around the main island since independence from the UK and France in 1980.

So the way it works is, the first runner goes off and the rest of us hop in a mini-bus. We go ahead for a couple of kilometres, then as our runner comes past we cheer them on and give them water, then go ahead another few kilometres until our team mate comes past again. As a team, we stay together all day long to help and encourage and support each other, as we jog (or trot or walk) around the circumference of the island of Efate (the main island where Port Vila is). This goes on all day until we finish the relay and everyone has had their turn.

Although it is quite competitive for the local teams, we never worry ourselves about trying to keep up with them. It is just so exciting to see them run past, often bare foot, and not even opening their mouths to breath! They are true, natural athletes.

IMG 1364     IMG 2054     IMG 2136     VanuatuPhotos163 2 000

Each of the villages we pass through has spent days preparing their little piece of paradise and making their part of the road beautiful with palm fronds, flowers and even tunnels of floral ‘irrigation’ for the runners to pass through.

The Ni-Vanuatu line the roadside or perch themselves in trees calling out, singing, clapping and cheering us on (it makes us feel like we are part of the Olympic Torch Relay!)

They set up stalls with local produce and gifts, and all the gorgeous, smiley kiddies are dressed in their Sunday best, ready to ‘high 5’ you as you go past. The Vanuatu Round Island Relay is life-changing. In previous years, some of our team members had never jogged more than 1km before they put their deposit down, and then to go on and complete a section as part of our team is an incredible accomplishment. So if you are looking to set yourself a fitness goal for 2012, this is the one for you. We will be taking 2 teams. One is a run team (for those who can run their whole section), and another fun team for those who can walk and/or trot their whole section.

2. An Opportunity to Escape the Sydney winter!

resort2Don’t forget about the fantastic holiday we all have in an absolutely spectacular part of the world where you can do as much or as little as you like in a warm, relaxed, tropical paradise. The Ni-Vanuatu would have to be the warmest and friendliest people you could possibly meet. Choose from 2 resorts that have fabulous views, a tropical paradise atmosphere, excellent restaurants, luxurious pool area, and delicious Pina Colada's served in coconuts!!! 

3. A Rural Primary School excursion 

CalculatorsEvery year, we undertake lots of fund-raising before we leave Australia, so when we arrive in Vanuatu we have many thousands of dollars (and so far over 1500kg of excess baggage) worth of literacy resources, which we donate to the children in a rural primary school, who otherwise have very little. This is your chance to make a difference by personally handing over educaiton packs, reading books to the children and playing fun literacy games.


The delight on the children’s (and teachers’!!) faces when we unpack these goods is a pleasure that is hard to beat! And as a thanks back to us, we have been treated to concerts put on by the children, feasts of local produce, hand-made bags woven especially for us, and coconut milk from fresh coconuts supplied for us on relay day!

The opportunity that we have to go into a village and see what goes on in the day-to-day life of these wonderful people is something that 'normal' tourists do not get the opportunity to do. Due to Heidi's special link with Vanuatu and all the good work Jump Start has done over the last two decades, ensures we have special permission from the Village Chief to do this.


4. An opportunity to support teenage girls from a remote island!

TannagirlsYour sponsorship dollars will allow a group of teenage girls to participate in the Relay and be part of a life-changing workshop - an opportunity they would never otherwise have.

In 2004, we also raised enough funds through the generous support of JUMP START clients, together with Northbridge and Pennant Hills Rotary Clubs to sponsor a team from one of the remote islands in the archipelago, called Tanna. We organised for the team of 10 to be flown to their capital city (these children would NEVER have the opportunity to leave their island normally), have 3 night’s food and board, plus participate in their national event. Not only was this a chance of a lifetime for these teenagers, but they also ended up winning their section of the event, so were able to take lots of dollars back to their island for the others at their school to share. It was a very proud moment for all of us, and their genuine thanks to us for the opportunity was heart-warming. When I went to visit the students in 2006, I asked them if they had been able to use all the resources we had given them. Their reply was, “We felt that we had been given so much by you already, that we distributed it all to other little schools on the island”!!! So again in 2008, 2010 & 2012 we sponsored a team of 11 girls from this school, plus 2 teachers. These gorgeous girls have done us proud and ran their little legs off. In 2008 they arrived back in Vila 3hrs before our Jump Start team, waited for us, then ran the last 1/2km with Ken to the finish line. It was fabulous, and they couldn't wait to show us their silver medals that they had won. In 2010, they won first place in their division and went back to their island as heroines with a big trophy and enough cash to help them with their school fees. In 2012, we also organised a life-changing workshop for these young ladies (the first of its kind in Vanuatu).  

5. BEST Part - An Exclusive Invitation to the Official Opening of our Library (Tanna Extension packages only)


To the official opening of Isangel Central Primary School's Library situated on Tanna Island. This project has recently been completed with money raised by Jump Start Foundation.

The community will be hosting an unforgettable Melanesian celebration for us to mark this historic occasion.

There has been an overwhelming expression of interest in being part of this very special cultural and exercise experience for 2014. If  time allows you to come with us, I can guarantee you will have an exceptional holiday as well as feeling completely satisfied at completing such a challenging (but fun) event, while making a difference ot so many children.

I am sooooooooooooo excited about this years trip. Firstly because I love to share my favourite place in the world; secondly because of the great bunch of people who have already indicated they will be joining us; thirdly because we are again sponsoring the team of girls to come over from Tanna to participate in the relay, which I know is so incredibly special for them; and finally because the Library we have built is ready and we will be taking a volunteer group there for a 4days extension to help paint classrooms, help organise the new library and/or help with reading groups and literacy programs for the children. It will truly be a trip of a lifetime!

So if you are interested in having an fitness event to work towards this year, keep readingOR

If you are interested in escaping the Sydney winter, for a tropical island adventure, keep reading. OR

If you would like to see first-hand how your donated dollars and literacy resources change the lives of so many children, keep reading.

Where: Holiday Inn Resort, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu and then to Tanna Island (the real Vanuatu!) for a 4 day extension.

When: Our next 'Running For Literacy Adventure' is in July 2016. If you would like to participate this year though, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will tell you how.

Cost: From $1550pp for adults; Children - $42 for infants under 2yrs; $535 child 2-11yrs; $734 for child 12yrs +

Holiday Packages: You can see our 2014 package here - Can be downloaded here.


To be involved with this Fitness and Philanthropy Tropical Adventure, you must commit to:
  • Personally raising $250, which is on top of the package prices.
  • 100% of this sponsorship money will go towards Jump Start Foundation's Literacy and Girls Equity projects, and will be used for project work while you are with us in Vanuatu. You can be guaranteed that it will directly impact the lives of over 300 children and their families.
  • We will provide you with template emails and letters, plus secure online payment capabilities to help you with this.
Have a read of some of our past participants thoughts:
AndreaM"I had a fantastic time in Vanuatu, not only from a fitness achievement and relaxing holiday perspective and getting to know some great people, but also personally with the whole experience giving me a tap on the shoulder about "putting things in perspective"!!

 Thankyou again Heidi and Ken, you both made it fantastic."

Andrea Martens, Marketing Manager, Mother of 2, Naremburn


Magdaleen“I had been meaning to join the Jump Start Vanuatu team for about 8yrs or so, but in 2010 I finally managed to make the necessary commitment. It was not easy…kids, work, husband, training and allocating funds towards it. But thank goodness I did! From the moment the kids and I received our itinerary and schedule our excitement levels were raised by 100% and I knew that we were going to be a part of something very special!Like-minded people, with a common goal, striving towards the same outcome. The kids and I were part of something bigger, something so memorable, something so enriching. The sound of those kids’ voices from the primary school that we delivered literacy and numeracy packs to is still embedded in my mind. Seeing the smiles on my 2 children’s faces, knowing that they understood the importance of this trip and learning about cultural differences still overwhelms me everyday. We came home with a great sense of achievement! Enriching stories of community and culture (plus a bit of geography for the kids). My heart is filled with love, my soul filled with compassion and I am humbled by the happiness that this trip has given me. Most importantly I got to share it with my kids. I am definitely not missing another one!” Magdaleen Major, Accounts Manager, Mother of 2 Gorgeous Cherubs, Gladesville.

Romney"As we sat in shadow of a day that was slowly drawing to a close, listening to the announcement of the winning team there was time to reflect on the day that had been. First and foremost I ran a distance I didn’t think I’d be able to do and that made me wonder what got me to do it considering running to me is about as exciting as watching grass grow. Listening to the crowd gave me part of the answer – it was the local people. This event meant so much to them that practically the entire island came to a standstill to lend a hand or to be involved. It makes you feel special to be part of that and to be made to feel so welcome regardless of where you finished. Sitting there listening and watching, taking it all in the other reason quickly dawned on me – the other part was the team. We were there helping each through an event where we all had a part to play. A fun run in a big city means you’re just a number in sea of people striving for that personal best. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, I just feel that it lacks a kind of soul and maybe that’s why I’m not into running.  The run in Vanuatu had soul in spades. The team was there for you no matter what leg and the encouragement from a familiar voice can be enough to get you to push that little harder or to finish your leg on a high note." Romney Davis, Body Mechanix, Melbourne.

NatVanuatuSm"I had the pleasure to be a part of the fantastic trip to Vanuatu in 2012. Running the relay around the island was an unforgettable and highly rewarding experience. Cheering for the Jump Start team and visiting the local villages; sharing laughter and encouraging each other to complete the chosen run/walk  section; seeing what the island has to offer with its beauty and all the celebrations afterwards, are memories that will stay with me forever. The Jump Start Foundation literacy project was very unique and warmed our hearts. The children of Vanuatu were so lovely and happy. We brought bags with books and shared them with the children. We read stories together and played games and at the end of the day didn't want to leave! Visiting the school and seeing the happy faces of the children made the trip even more worthwhile and I highly recommend it!" Nataliya Herington, Personal Trainer, Wollstonecraft.

ZoeBagsLowRes'Summing up my families experience in Vanuatu is difficult to put into words, suffice to say 'Amazing!'  The only fun part of the run, was watching the other 9 runners.  My leg was challenging and incredibly satisfying.  It was an incredible experience to be part of a Team and one I shall not forget.  What was more amazing was seeing the faces of the young children at the school we visited.  To see the joy in the eyes of kids who received a book, a lead pencil or scissors was a life changing experience. I would highly recommend supporting Jump Start and experiencing this for yourself." Justin Tamsett, Active Management, Beecroft.

Annette“Wow, what an amazing trip.…it was fantastic to be involved and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The Round Island Relay was a true challenge and an incredible event, the teamwork was absolutely extraordinary and we we’re all extremely proud of our achievements!! It was such a treat to see the sponsored Tanna Girls team reach 2nd in their category as well!! Delivering the education packs to Epau Primary School was the most heart-warming experience and an absolute highlight for me...the warmth, gratitude and joy from the children and teachers will always last in my memories. A huge thanks and congratulations again to Heidi, Ken and the Jump Start team on such a fabulous adventure.” Annette Stevens, Chatswood, Project Manager.


Tony“It only comes around once every 2 years but the Vanuatu Round Island Relay is something I eagerly await on each occasion. Not only does it offer a challenge to your personal fitness but it also provides an opportunity to see why the people of a small Pacific island nation are regarded as the happiest in the world. Even more rewarding is the opportunity to interact with the locals, see how they live and directly assist with indigenous children’s educational needs. I am really looking forward to my 5threturn visit this year and urge anyone interested in joining us, either as a competitor or supporter, to come along in 2014 and be part of the Vanuatu experience." Tony de Govrik, Lawyer, Cammeray.

Vanuatu"Travelling to Epau village to give out literacy packs to the village children was a highlight of the Jump Start trip for me and the part of the adventure I was most excited about! Firstly seeing the many any boxes of bags, full of books and stationary and fun resources for the kids filled me with inspiration that through Heidi’s efforts with mobilising people all around the world, these kids would have the opportunity to improve their literacy skills and have fun in the process. I felt privileged to be a part of it! Seeing the kids open their literacy packs and then sitting down with them and opening up books and reading to them was literally a life changing experience for me and one that has now shaped my future. The children were so excited to explore their packs and as soon as I opened up a book with one child, many came over to hear the story I was reading. Seeing their inquisitive faces when each page of the book was turned and when the book was finished each child wanted me to read one from their pack. It was an experience I will hold in my heart forever and one that has shaped my future. If you have the opportunity to go…… not pass it by!" Liz Nade, Occupational Therapist, lives in Cammeray usually but currently volunteering in Fiji after being inspired by the Vanuatu trip

JohnCockbill" Where do I start in expressing my gratitude for the invitation and thought you gave to including me in your team for the great Vanuatu Round Island race? I will be forever grateful. Firstly your organization of all the Australian participants, your care and attention to detail in caring for their needs and comfort throughout our ten day stay was amazing. No consideration was left to chance. The accommodation, flights and organised tours were all way beyond my not meagre expectations. And so much fun. Then there is the consideration you give to the local ni-Vanuata and the schools. Your donations of schoolbooks, your speeches and presentations mark you as a great ambassador for Australia. So well done, and such joy on the little faces of the school children and their teachers. That such simple pleasures can help fulfil simple needs. And lastly the big race. You and your team of friends and trainers made me feel so special in being a part of that event. I was so proud to be running for Australia in your team uniform. And to see those wonderful young girls you sponsored from Tanna win was so emotional. It was such a buzz. All of the above took a huge amount of effort and organization. I know you have a great team that supports you Heidi, but your smiles, laughter, consideration and encouragement made it so much fun to be with you. Thank you also to that special man in your life, Ken. I wish you every success Heidi, together with your team of trainers. You are very special people.” John W. Cockbill (FGF), Entrepreneur and Property Developer, Bayview

VanuatuRaceSchools028 2“We had known of Jump Start's trips to Vanuatu ever since they began and had always been curious but had found other destinations took precedence. However this year 2010 became especially appealing because there was a fun team as well (we are in our late 60's and definitely not runners). Looking after our health and getting exercise has become an increasingly important priority in our lives so doing a leg in the Vanuatu Round Island Relay was indelibly placed on our bucket list. Of course the opportunity to visit "up close and personal" the active volcano on Tanna made this trip an imperative. I was afraid that I would let the team down as I am quite slow but the enthusiasm with which other members of the team egged me on during the race seemed to give flight to my feet so that I did a PB!!! There was one huge aspect to the trip which had sat quietly in the back of my brain and which has now surfaced to become perhaps the real raison d'etre - the support which Jump Start gives to the local people as a result of fundraising. To see Jump Start's team of girls from Tanna win their section of the race, to see the primary school students receiving educational packs, to see the love, pride and hero-worship on the faces of those whom Jump Start has helped put the whole holiday in a different light. I have unfinished business in Vanuatu - to quote a famous WW2 general "I shall return" Penny Cockbill (FGM), Retired Teacher, Bridge & Jazzercize Extroardinaire, Bayview.

SallySuch A Personal Achievement
“I never would have thought I could have run as long as I did (even with my spassy feet!!!!!), or even competing in a “international run”.

This really has been a HUGE personal achievement and journey. I now feel like I have more confidence just being me and knowing what I can achieve.

When I have a challenging day at work (which I have many in my profession), I think about the holiday and everything slips back into perspective. “ Sal Crennan, Bondi, Human Resources Manager

"This is something I will remember forever. Best thing I have ever done. What an experience I now share with 18 other Sydney-siders. Thanks Heidi. Thanks Eva. Thanks team. Until next year. Can't wait to do it again but 20 minutes faster." Ron Gardner, Cammeray, IT Specialist.

“The Vanuatu RIR 2002 was a fantastic experience. For me it was a personal goal and achievement to be able to run and participate in a team event. As I now say to my friends and family, I am an “International Race Participant”. Once the race was over there was definitely a new bond with all the participants. We all experienced a unique team event, one that we will all be able remember and reminisce, right up until I do it again next year!” Mandy Judd, Neutral Bay, IT Specialist.

 CathieW 000"Who would have thought 6 ½ years ago when I started at Jumpstart that I would be running in Vanuatu. Certainly not me! For someone who doesn’t like the heat, not a beach fan, gets stressed about new situations, never run before, it was certainly a long way from my comfort zone…..but it was fantastic and the most amazing experience!
 I remember one year there were 2 teams that went to Vanuatu – a ‘serious’ and a ‘fun’ team. I wondered if I might be able to one day and be in the ‘fun’ team. A wake up call from my GP with ongong high BP, increasing weight and I was advised to lose a substantial amount of weight, and increase my exercise in an attempt to drop my BP without medication. So I did! And to give me something to aim for, I surprised everyone and committed to Vanuatu….about 12 months in advance.
Then all of a sudden relay day was here!!!! The Jump Start team were great - it just seemed to be the right combination of company, cheering, joking, and serious consideration for everyone’s needs. It is impossible to describe in words, pictures help, but the feeling and atmosphere is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I learnt a lot from watching the other runners race their sections, the other teams and how everyone coped differently.
Then I was off……changeover went smoothly and I was on my way. I knew I would have 10 min or so before the bus came past with water so I tried to concentrate and get my pace settled. It was cloudy, not too hot compared to the rest of the day, but it didn’t take me long to feel really hot and tired. It was now after 5pm and 12 hours since the start of the race. I couldn’t get my pace settled and the road ahead seemed to loom on forever. One of the French runners passed me relatively early and we waved and wished each other luck as she passed. My calves and shins were holding up Ok so far, but my ankles were killing me – they were burning. Thankfully the bus came past and a cheer from the team and some water distracted me for a while. I gave up any thoughts of running the whole lot ( I had still thought that maybe I could miraculously achieve the goal I had set myself) and stopped for a short walk to drink and collect myself. Off again as the bus drove ahead.
 The scenery was fairly similar for most of the section, although I found it hard to look around and take it in – I was concentrating on keeping running. I had a lovely coastal breeze from my left and made the most of it when I could. By about 4km everything was hurting and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it…..mentally I was shot! I really thought that I wouldn’t be able to go on.
Some more water, a short walk and I managed to get myself going again. I had one of the team run a little with me around the 6km mark to keep me going which was a godsend. Once I got through 7km, I found my pace and knew I would be OK. I wasn’t going fast, but about 6:30 pace I think. Some more water and the team were telling me that the lights ahead were the changeover……I didn’t believe them, I couldn’t be there already. Mind you, I had been running for nearly 90 minutes and my Nike + said 11.8km or something (my section was 13km). I couldn’t reconcile the numbers in my head and thought that they must be just trying to keep me going. Then they said they were going ahead and see me at changeover…….it was true! I could hear another bus behind and wasn’t sure if it was another team or just someone on the road. It was too dark to tell. Then I thought I could head someone running behind me, but wasn’t sure. I could see the team ahead at changeover and they were all cheering me on. I put on a last minute sprint and flew through changeover and managed to hold off the runner that had been behind me.
I was finished ! I had done it! 1hr 33 by my watch. The relief was amazing and the realisation of what I had achieved hit me all at once. Words can’t describe it.  I had achieved my goal – it wasn’t about running it non stop – it was about being there, doing it and doing the best I could. From non runner, to 13km in an International relay race - DONE!!!" Cathie Wiltshire, Five Dock, Lecturer and Mother to Charlotte
Your Steps for Action:
* Call us on 9904 1201 or email us  to indicate your intention to join us - yah!

* Read about all inclusions you get in this incredible Fitness and Philanthropy Tropical Adventure. 

* You must commit to raising $250 on top of the package price. 100% will go to the projects you will be involved in during this tropical adventure. This commitment is to be made by all runners, trotters, walkers, supporters &/or volunteers.

* To secure the best accomodation and flight options, a non-refundable deposit of $440 per person is payable. NB: During the 2012 trip, we ran out of rooms to offer the high number of requests of people wanting to join us. So get in quick!

* You will need to fill in the booking Booking Form when paying the deposit.

* Full payment is required no later than 30 June.

* Payment to Millenium Travel is by cash, direct deposit or cheque. Payment by credit card is possible but with a 2% service fee.

Jump Start Foundation: Providing Life Changing Opportunities Through Education.
© 2014 Jump Start Foundation. All rights reserved | Website design and development by pixelplaza