The Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (VIOC) and the Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation (VITFF) are putting their support behind V.I. National Track and Field Team member Eduardo Garcia to be the next V.I. Olympian to compete in the Olympic Marathon.
Garcia took the first step in achieving that goal as he entered and competed in his first marathon in Rotterdam, Netherlands, last week. About 40,000 participants were at the starting line for the IAAF Gold Label Marathon, and in the end, Garcia finished in an impressive 30th place. His time was 2:25.17, a new V.I. national record. On the advice of VITFF, Rotterdam was selected for his debut marathon, and at the request of the VITFF, the V.I. Olympic Committee, after evaluating his strong college and progressive performance for the territory, provided a competition grant for Garcia’s travel to Europe.
His goal in Rotterdam was to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in London in August. He had that goal in hand for most of the 26.2-mile race as he was on between 2:14 and 2:19 pace most of the way. At the end of the day, the marathon always wins as it claims its victims at around the 23-mile mark also known as “the wall.” His kilometer splits dropped from around 3.12 to over 4:00; thus, he was forced to settle for a very strong 2:25.17 performance — a new V.I. national record! In his transition from track to the road in less than a year, he is showing much promise at that discipline. Within the past few months, he has claimed V.I. records in the half-marathon, the 15K and the marathon; he also has the 5,000m and 10,000m track records.
1] There have been four Olympic marathon runners for the Virgin Islands: Calvin Dallas at Seoul 1988 and at Barcelona 1992; Marlon Williams at Los Angles 1984, Seoul 1988 and Atlanta 1996; Ana Guiterrez at Barcelona 1992; Wallace Williams at Seoul 1988.
2] The V.I. National Record for the Marathon was previously held by Calvin Dallas 2:27.23 in Trinidad &Tobago on May 22, 1988.