Eighty-two runners and walkers turned out for the second Ten Bay 10K Road Race on St. John on Sunday, Dec. 2. The race featured a challenging and scenic course within the Virgin Islands National Park along North Shore Road. Beginning at the Virgin Islands National Park Visitor Center, the course traversed the north shore of St. John for 6.2 miles, overlooking ten of the world’s most beautiful bays and beaches. The race finished at Maho Bay Beach.
The top male finishers were Matt Crafts (45:43), Beau Layton (46:28) and Tim Hanley (47:59) of St. John. All participated in the first Ten Bay 10K in 2016. Crafts is also one of the race directors. Of the event, Crafts said, “This is an awesome course that is as hard to conquer mentally as it is physically. It is the one time you can really enjoy the whole of the North Shore without worrying about traffic. Thanks to NPS for shutting down a full lane for us and St. John Rescue and VI Police for keeping us safe.”
On the women’s side, Chelsea Baranowski (54:07), Sarah Swan (54:34) and Mary Vargo (56:34) of St. John took the top spots. Baranowski is a familiar face on the St. John race circuit. In 2016, she finished 7th among 568 women in the 8 Tuff Miles Road Race. This was Baranowski’s first Ten Bay 10K. Of the experience, she said, “This is such a great race for visitors and locals to spend some time cruising the North Shore. You literally could not have a better race venue! Thanks to all the volunteers and organizers who made it possible, and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”
The 82 participants ranged in age from 8 to 69. Twenty-two of the participants also raced in 2016. There was a 2-hour time limit to finish the course, but this posed no problem for the runners and walkers, and the race ended earlier than scheduled. As their finisher prize, participants received a commemorative Silipint silicone reusable pint cup. The top three male and female finishers received a handmade art mini-quilt of one of the ten bays created especially for the race by Kathy Vargo of St. John. The quilts for the remaining four bays were raffled off to participants during the awards ceremony.
The Ten Bay 10K was supported on site by St. John Rescue, National Park Service, V.I. Police Department and many volunteers. The westbound lane of North Shore Road was closed so that runners could enjoy the course free of traffic. Several licensed ham radio operators were present along the route for additional safety and communications.
“We are really grateful for the cooperative support of each of the agencies to make this a safe and fun event for participants and volunteers,” said race director Mary Vargo.
St. John Rescue will receive a $1,000 donation from the proceeds. Other proceeds will go towards supporting future St. John Landsharks athletic events for the community.
Liliana Martinez, an avid runner and senior at Gifft Hill School, ran the course to fundraise for the Namasagali Primary School, GHS’s sister school in rural Uganda. She is donating one dollar for every mile that she runs, with a goal of raising $2,000 toward scholarships that will send 34 students to school for one year. Liliana announced that others can participate or sponsor, and more information can be found on her Strides for Students Facebook page.
Race directors Mary Vargo and Matt Crafts of Coral Bay organize other St. John Landsharks events, including the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K, Love City Triathlon and Aquathlon, and the Francis Bay Fives 5-Mile and 5K. Another Ten Bay 10K repeat participant was Peter Alter, race director of the 8 Tuff Miles Road Race, which is coming up on its 23rd year. This event will take place on Feb. 23, 2019, and registration is open at www.8tuffmiles.com. The first Geiger Tuff Tune Up training run will be on Jan. 12.
For information about Strides for Students, contact [email protected].
St. John Landsharks is an informal local athletic club, focusing on swimming, biking, running, stand up paddleboarding, and anything else they feel like doing. Visit the Landsharks at www.stjohnlandsharks.com.