Jan. 27, 2004 – The 8th annual 8 Tuff Miles race, which traverses the island along Centerline Road from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay, is scheduled for Feb. 28.
"It's a nice community day and nice community spirit," organizer Peter Alter said of the event, which has grown over the years and this time is expected to attract at least 500 entries. Last year, 403 individuals crossed the finish line.
The race is to begin at 7:15 a.m. at the V.I. National Park ball field. The awards ceremony is set for 11 a.m. at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant.
The race actually covers 8.375 miles up hill and down dale. This year, Alter said, those who are running will start off from the road leading to the park Visitor Center that runs adjacent to the ball field. Those who are walking will start in the ball field itself. In previous years, both groups started in the ball field; the new procedure is to minimize jam-ups at the start.
Alter said he expects Evergreen, Colo., resident Austin Thompson and St. John resident Regina Randazza to defend their titles. Thompson won in 2002 and 2003 and holds the men's course record of 53:15. Randazza finished first among the women in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and holds the women's record of 57.17.
Participants must preregister to take part. The entry fee is $15 for those ages 19 and under and $25 for everyone else.
Registration will be held at the following times and places:
– 4:30 to 8 p.m. on all four Saturdays of February at Baked in the Sun at St. John Marketplace.
– 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at Skinny Legs in Coral Bay.
– 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 23-27 at Connections in Cruz Bay.
– Noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 23-26 downstairs at the Marketplace.
– 4:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at Maho Bay Camps.
– 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 at Mongoose Junction.
The organizers scheduled two tune-ups for the event. The first was Jan. 17. The second is on Saturday — a 2.5-mile run departing from the George Simmonds Terrace Apartments and finishing at Chateau Bordeaux.
Alter said most of the money raised will benefit the St. John Kids and the Sea program, but this year a small portion will go to the St. John Landsharks, the group that puts on the annual Labor Day Love City Triathlon.
The overall first place men's and women's finishers will each receive a $250 prize. Alter said Carlson Construction of St. John donated the men's prize and St. John Phone Book, the women's.
Trophies donated by Holiday Homes will go to the top male and female finishers in 14 age groups. Scholarship money donated by the Sandy Hill and Thomas H. Dittmer Foundation will go to the top male and top female finishers three age groups — $1,000 in the 17-19 division, $800 to those in the 13-16 division and $500 in the 12 and under division. Alter said the money stays in an interest-bearing account until the students begin attending college.
Everyone who enters will receive a commemorative T-shirt, and everyone who crosses the finish line has a chance to win $1,000 worth of "Mongoose dollars" donated by St. John architect and Mongoose Junction 1 owner Glen Speer that are good for shopping at Mongoose Junction. Alter said the winner will be drawn out of a hat.
The 8 Tuff Miles race, which attracted 21 participants the first time out in 1997, has grown to be the largest foot race in the Caribbean. Alter said he expects at least 100 people from outside the territory to take part this year. "Most have planned their vacation around this event," he said.
The race is run by volunteers who perform myriad tasks, including staffing the water stations set up along Centerline Road. For more information, visit 8 Tuff Miles, or call Alter at 779-4035.
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