Still recovering from marathon races in Charlotte Amalie four days earlier, stalwart Danish runners, who are here to observe the Centennial a of the Virgin Islands Transfer from Danish to U.S. rule, took on the roads of Coral Bay before dawn on Thursday. But first they had to endure the test of getting to the starting line. They had to get up early to catch a 3:35 a.m. safari bus ride to Red Hook. The next test was the ferry to Cruz Bay, which would have been beautiful if it hadn’t been so dark. Then there was the long safari bus ride to Coral Bay.
By the time the three events (full 26.2-mile marathon (42.1 kilometers), half-marathon and 10K races) had been completed, Peter Simonsen had racked up his 299th full marathon, Margo Vargo had won her second 10K in four days and the next generation was adequately represented by the speedy legwork of a sub-teen runner.
On behalf of the Virgin Islands Pace Runners, which assumed overall management of the historic event, St. Thomas Association of Roadrunners (STAR) served as local event director. Its members and members of the St. Thomas Track Club and other volunteers from St. Thomas worked diligently with their St. John counterparts and friends to make this historic event a safe and enjoyable part of Virgin Islands Centennial celebrations.
The 10K went off without a hitch. It was won by Sunday’s winner Mary Vargo in 46:28, followed by the outstanding nine-year-old St. Johnian Quinn Wallace in 48:28. Third place went to sixty-year-old Lars Vilhelmsen (49:18), who has a 2:53 marathon to his credit.
Darkness and other problems caused the course to be shortened at one point, forcing the 42 kilometer runners to make up the lost distance at the end of the races when they had every reason to be looking forward to rest, refreshment and relaxation. Some runners depended on their GPS watches to assure the correct distances.
First and second place victors of the longest race finished as they had on St. Thomas with Torben Jensen besting Martin Thomsen. Third place overall went to Kim Smit, closely chased by Benny Bull. The first female across the line was Hanne Christophersen with Anne Marie Lyngbye chasing.
Similar problems affected the half-marathoners as well. At that distance, the women dominated. Gifft Hill cross-country standout Lilliana Martinez finished first, followed by Hashia Wallace, also of St. John. Birgitte Rojek was the third female finisher, followed by Brigitte Rojek. Third overall was Tommy Jensen from Denmark, finishing as the first male.
For more information about these results contact Roy Watlington at rawatlingtonQ@earthlink.net or 777-8183.
The races offered interesting natural and cultural revelations. As donkeys and goats eyed the runners from the sidelines, the Coral Bay harbor provided changing beauty as the sun rose and displayed the bay’s many shades of blue and boats at anchor rotated gently to face varying winds.
For their part, Virgin Islands runners and volunteers learned the secret to running so many marathons over the years and so many in just a few days. It turns out that these extreme Danish runners, unlike most Caribbean and North American counterparts, allow themselves a little nourishment on the run by consuming fruit (especially bananas), granola bars and cola mid-race. Now we know.
Warm exchanges and farewells between visiting runners and local volunteers set the mood for the third and last event of the Denmark-Virgin Islands Transfer Centennial Marathon Series. On this coming Sunday – with just two days’ rest, these outstanding athletes — some as mature as they are experienced — will take on the same three distances starting at Fort Christiansvaern on St. Croix.
For information about this next event, visit the event web page http://virginislandspace.org/transfermarathon.html or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
|The Denmark/Virgin Islands Transfer Marathon – St. John||42K (26.2 mile) Marathon|
|Mikael Schmidt Lassen||M||5:02:00|
|The Denmark/Virgin Islands Transfer Marathon – St. John||Half-Marathon|
|The Denmark/Virgin Islands Transfer Marathon – St. John||10 kilometers|
|Kirsten Toft Nielsen||F||51:39|
|Mogens Søndergaard Nielsen||M||56:04|
|Anne Grete Jacobsen||F||1:01:00|
|Lisbeth Bach Sørensen||F||1:02:24|
|Karin Birgitte Hougaard Grøn||F||1:29:06|
|Niels Christian Grøn||M||1:44:05|