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8 Tuff Miles Set for Saturday

Rick Pahl, of Muscatine, Iowa, crosses the finish line in 2014.Centerline Road will be closed Saturday morning to allow racers safely run 8 Tuff Miles, the 8.375 miles from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay.

The road will be closed at the Cruz Bay end starting at 7:10 a.m. Successive sections of the road will be closed as the runners near the area.

Jeff Miller, a member of the organizing team, said Centerline Road will be closed for three hours until 10:10 a.m. He said it’s not possible to give exact times for when Centerline Road will open at various intersections because that depends on how fast the runners go.

“Once the police car following the runners passes, the road will open,” Miller said.

Only two major roads – Gifft Hill Road and King Hill Road – intersect with Centerline as it makes its way from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay. Miller said drivers trying to enter Centerline Road from those roads and the handful of minor and neighborhood roads will not be allowed onto Centerline until the runners pass.

Registration for the 19th annual event remains open until 8 p.m. Thursday. Those who want to participate can register from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Brewtique in Mongoose Junction shopping center.

“There is no registration Friday or the day of the race,” Miller said.

Miller said runners can pick up their bibs from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Brewtique, from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday at the pavilion next to the V.I. National Park’s Visitor Center in Cruz Bay, or on the morning of the race. However, Miller said picking up bibs on race day is strongly discouraged because it’s very busy.

About 1,100 runners from around the world are expected to participate, Miller said.

The race begins at 7:15 a.m. Saturday on the road behind the park Visitor Center. The fastest runners will cross the finish line at the Coral Bay Ballfield in about 45 minutes.

Dave Riddle of Cincinnati set the course record of 45 minutes and 46 seconds in 2013.

In 2014, Rick Pahl of Muscatine, Iowa, was the first man to pass the finish line with a time of 51 minutes and four seconds.

Jessica Rice of Needham, Mass. was the fastest woman on the course in 2014 with a time of 56 minutes and four seconds. This set a course record for women.

An awards ceremony will be held about 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Mongoose Junction.

The event occurs because many in the community volunteer. They set up water stations at a dozen locations along the route, pass out T-shirts and do myriad other tasks that make the 8 Tuff Miles race happen.

Miller said the money raised goes to such organizations as the St. John Cancer Fund and St. John Rescue. Additionally, the top three finishers in the three youngest age groups get college scholarship money. He said that since those participants are often from the territory, the scholarships help local youths go to college.

“It’s a tremendous way for them to sock away money for college,” Miller said.

He said St. John has recently suffered some hard times with loss of life in two vehicle accidents and a disastrous fire at Mongoose Junction shopping center.

“It’s bringing the community together,” Miller said of the race.

More information is online at www.8tuffmiles.com.

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