A new face and a perennial winner, both from St. Croix, took home top honors at Sunday’s 11th annual Love City Triathlon.
Matt Halk, 31, who raced the event for the first time, was the first man across the finish for the triathletes. Theresa Harper, 43, who won the event or finished high up in the standings numerous times, was again the fastest woman triathlete.
"I had to dig deep to get up a few of those hills," said Harper, who owns a soap-making company.
She also had to dodge donkeys as she started the run portion of the event near the Annaberg Plantation parking lot. Four donkeys got in the way, Harper said.
"So I’m going, ‘Git! Git! Git!’" she said. "I’m racing donkeys, but it’s very St. John."
Halk, who works at the Buccaneer Hotel, said he doesn’t get much time to practice. In addition to being pleased with his win, he was happy he didn’t get lost like he sometimes does when he runs on St. Croix.
The triathletes swam a half mile, biked another 14 miles and finished with a four-mile run. The event also featured an Aquathon in which competitors swam and ran as well, as a relay that included all three segments of the race. A total of 86 people participated.
Frits Bus, a 53-year-old doctor from St. Maarten, was second across the finish for the triathletes, the same spot he took last year.
"It was nice cycling," he said.
St. John resident Matt Crafts, 31, took third place in the Triathlon.
"It’s competitive and it gets everybody out and doing fun stuff," he said.
Janelle Zachman, 41, owner of Caribbean Surf Co. on St. Thomas, was the second woman triathlete across the finish. She said she really liked the bicycling part of the race.
"I’m a poopy swimmer," she said. "When I get out of the water, I know what bike is mine because it’s the only one there."
Sally Blackmore, 46, a construction manager from Tortola, took third for the woman triathletes.
"It’s a good challenge," she said.
Antony Spencer, a 43-year-old lawyer from Tortola, was the very first person across the finish line. An Aquathon participant, he swam and ran the course.
"It’s hard, but I enjoyed the race more than any other," he said.
Spencer said he’s not a cyclist, so the opportunity to swim and run without the cycling leg appealed to him.
Elizabeth Killeen, 29, of Tortola, was the first woman across the finish in the Aquathon. She said that athletes on Tortola talked about how well the committee organizes the race.
"And it’s in a national park," she said, referring to the Triathlon’s start and finish in V.I. National Park.
The Triathlon brought out plenty of spectators.
"It really helps to get their enthusiasm going," said St. John resident Sabrina Castle.
And the event wouldn’t run without volunteers. Lori Walden and Teresa Arciniega paired up as timekeepers.
"We’re a small community and everyone needs to help out," Arciniega said.
Many of the participants spoke about their relief that the weather cooperated. As the remnants of Erika dumped deluges of water on St. John on Saturday, many worried that Sunday would be a repeat performance. However, the overcast skies pleased many participants, because it kept the temperature down and the roads were partially dry by the time the Triathlon began.
"We had alternative plans," said St. John resident Jude Woodcock, a member of the organizing committee.
Louise Wearmouth of Tortola, another organizer, said there were very few problems on the race course.
"Two flat tires and no crashes," she said.
Mike Jordan of St. John Rescue said one person suffered from cramps.
1. Matt Halk, St. Croix, 1:47:38
2. Frits Bus, St. Maarten, 1:51:25
3. Matt Crafts, St. John, 1:52:52
1. Theresa Harper, St. Croix, 2:00:10
2. Janelle Zachman, St. Thomas, 2:15:17
3. Sally Blackmore, Tortola, 2:19:52
1. Michelle Dizon, Robert Bumann, Paul Evora, St. Croix, 1:43:46
2. Nigel Yarranton, James Rosebury, Cathy Clements, St. Thomas, 1:56:57
3. Eric Bauman, Pretlow Majette, Margaret Majette, St. John, 1:57:04
1. Elizabeth Killeen, Tortola, 45:10
2. Lisa Smedley, St. Thomas, 46:26
3. Susan Shipman, St. Croix, 47:24
1. Antony Spencer, Tortola, 40:55
2. Adam Thill, St. John, 42:38
3. Kevin Chipman, St. John, 43:39