Dec. 30, 2004 – The 3rd St. Croix Millennium Marathon – which will start at 5 a.m. Jan. 1, 2005 – will be the first marathon in the world for 2005.
The race, which has a limit of 50 entrants, is open to marathon runners local, regional, and international. An entry form is available on the V.I. Pace Runners Web site. A competitive race is expected.
V.I. Pace Runner and race organizer Wallace Williams offers his take on some of the participants:
Among the men:
— Leopold Fredericks – local favorite and a resident of Frederiksted. He has a special interest in doing well: He finished second in 2003.
— Gunnar Sanden – A local marathon veteran 60-plus years of age, he is a strong, experienced runner and hopes to improve on his second-place tie with Fredericks in 2003.
— Steve Burkholder – of St. John. He had an impressive performance in November in the New York Marathon as well as the V.I. Half-Marathon on St. Croix in November.
— Richard Jean-Pierre – new to St. Croix, he has been impressive in local races of late, including the V.I. Half-Marathon and the Cane Bay 5 Mile Road Race.
— Fabian Constable – from St. Lucia. He's a veteran long-distance runner and the uncle of one of the top female runners in V.I. history: Hiltrude Constable. It will be his first race on St. Croix.
— Larry Williams – He has run more marathons than anyone in the field of runners who will toe the start line on New Year's Day (more than 65 marathons). He is one of the founders of the San Diego Rock 'N' Roll Marathon.
— Kurt Hallock – a veteran marathoner traveled from San Diego to do the race.
— Roger Hatfield – Local endurance athlete has decided to give it a try.
— George Jules – Top local long-distance runner who has yet to do the marathon distance. Very often first at races' ends, hee may be at the start line for this one.
Among the ladies:
— Theresa Harper: Defending champion. She ran well at New York City Marathon in November, should do well on the flat and fast course.
— Ana Gutierrez – First V.I. female to represent the Virgin Islands in the Pan American Games (1991 Havana) and the Olympic Games (1992 Barcelona), now living in Germany, will run.
— Susan Daley – From Chicago, she comes to St. Croix specifically to run the race; she has run each of them.
The race starts at the Queen Mary Highway Plaza Extra in Estate Plessen; it continues through the historic estates of western St. Croix including Estate Whim, which is the 5k mark. Then the route proceeds to Hannah's Rest, Stony Ground and Mars Hill and Two Brothers before entering the historic town of Frederiksted, the 5-mile mark. Then the runners continue south on Veterans Shore Drive and the Westend Salt Pond and return to Frederiksted and along King St. past the Fort Frederik to Mahogany Road for a couple of miles and then to Hamm's Bluff Road to Ham's Bay and return to Fort Frederik (twice) and the FINISH.
The race is historically unique in that it was first run on 01/01/01 and became the first marathon in the world to be run in the new millennium. The race was run on the north shore in 2001 and 2003 and alternated between The St. Croix Marathon Relay which was run in 2002 and 2004. V.I. Olympic marathon runner Marlon Williams won the first year for the men and Jo Shim won the first year for women. In 2003 V.I. Olympic marathoner Calvin Dallas won the men's race and Theresa Harper took first place for women.
For 2005 the race moves to Frederiksted. Plans are that it will be run every year from now on and in 2006 will incorporate the Marathon Relay. V.I. Pace Runners organization is seeking sponsors to upgrade the event to a major marathon. It will become a member of the Association of International Marathons which will give additional international exposure. With appropriate budgeting the event will include world class marathon runners, male and female. The course will be certified and will make it possible for participants to qualify for major marathons like Boston, London, New York and IAAF Championships events.
Sponsors of Saturday's event include: Larry Williams Commodity Timing, Joel H. Holt Attorney at Law, Bohlke International Airways, Urban Threadz of St. Croix and St. Thomas, Jan Mitchell, Endurance Sports VI, Annaly Farms Market, Caribbean Health and Fitness, HH Tire & Battery, Alkon Meaney & Hart Attorneys at Law, Schuster's Services, Cruzan Creations, Tropical Cleaners, and Oliver Exterminating St. Croix and St. Thomas.