Sept. 5, 2004 St. Maarten cleaned up at Sunday's Love City Triathlon on St. John. The first four men and the fastest woman all hailed from this Caribbean neighbor.
Dick Luttekes, a 42-year-old pharmacist, took first honors for the men.
"The hills were my strongest part. I climb good," he said, discussing the 14-mile bike ride from Great Maho Bay to the Annaberg Plantation parking lot.
His fellow St. Maarten racers shared a different opinion.
"I'm going to sue because the hills are too steep," second place finisher Michael Bacon joked as he caught his breath just after the finish.
Bacon, a 38-year-old construction project manager, said that the hills were much closer together than those in St. Maarten.
Juan Pablo Piscione, 40, who owns a sports center in St. Maarten, said climbing the hills was very tough. Piscione captured third in the men's division.
Fritz Bus, a 48-year-old physician, took fourth. Bus, who is well known in the Caribbean region for his sailing skills, was delighted to hear about his teammates success.
The woman's first place went to Saskia Schroten, a 36-year-old firefighter from St. Maarten.
"It's bloody hilly. The hills just went up and up. St. Maarten has hills but none like this," she said.
She said that she found the cycling part the toughest because she couldn't get any rest.
The St. Maarten team captured the Interisland Award given to the island with the fastest three competitors. Those three must include both men and women.
The Bill Gladfelter Award goes to the person who best promotes the race's enthusiasm. This year it went to St. John resident Jude Woodcock. The award honors Gladfelter, a St. Croix resident and avid runner, who died last year.
This year saw 30 men, nine women and 13 relay teams from the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. mainland, and St. Maarten compete.
St. John resident Louise DePuy, who serves as the chief organizer, said that ending the course at shady Annaberg rather than in the heart of hot Coral Bay, as they had in the past, helped keep the runners cooler.
She added that moving the event to Sunday from the usual Monday Labor Day helped draw more international competitors.
The woman's second place finisher, Theresa Harper, 38, of St. Croix, said expanding the competition was a boon. Harper, along with the third-place finisher, Kathy McMurtrie, from St. John, fourth-place finisher DePuy and a handful of other women from the Virgin Islands, were often the only entries in previous triathlons.
"It's nice to add some new women to the mix," said Harper, who teaches at Good Hope School.
DePuy, who won last year, had breathing problems. She was near collapse as she entered the run portion of the event
"I just had to stop over and over," she said.
The event continues to grow. Last year a total of 50 people competed. This year saw 77 compete.
The top relay team consisted of two St. John residents and a St. Croix resident. Tory Lane, 29, of St. John, who works as a carpenter, swam the half-mile. Jamie Keys, 33, who works at Endurance Sports in St. Croix, did the bike portion, and Adam Thill, a 38-year-old carpenter from St. John, did the four-mile run between Annaberg and Francis Bay.
While Lane thought his swim was easier than last year, Keys said the uphill from Maho Bay was the toughest. "It's a short steep climb," he said.
Thill complained that it was a bit warm, but otherwise a nice run.
For St. John resident Damara Merten-Farwell, 32, and her family, the relay team provided a family day out. She did the swim, her husband, Todd Merten, 38, did the bike, and son Kai Merten Farwell, 7, completed the run. "It motivated us to get back in shape," she said.
Results were as follows:
1. Dick Luttekes, St. Maarten, 1:37:52.
2. Michael Bacon, St. Maarten, 1:39:38.
3. Juan Pablo Piscione, St. Maarten, 1:45:37.
1. Saskia Schroten, St. Maarten, 1:52:45.
2. Theresa Harper, St. Croix, 1:54:21.
3. Kathy McMurtrie, St. John, 1:56:44.
1. Tory Lane, St. John, Jamie Keys, St. Croix, Adam Thill, St. John, 1:28:38.
2. Libby Arnold, Han Winogroud, Neil Bergman, all St. John, 1:45:38.
3. Kevin Lenahan and Gabriel Jimenez, both St. Thomas, 1:56:50.
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