The top native-born male and female marathon runners were born in Charles Harwood Hospital on St. Croix. They are Billy Bohlke and Lisah Hamilton. Up to the age of 41, Bohlke has finished first in just about every local road race, cross-country and track race open to him. Currently, he is in the fast lane still as a runner and as a pilot of jet and turboprop airplanes.
At the same time, he is an officer and pilot in the U.S. Air Force and official ambassador for USAF through the running of road races and other running events. He is the CEO of family-run Bohlke Airways, the continual award winning FPO in the Caribbean.
Last year, The National Business Aviation Association announced its inaugural Business Aviation Top 40 Under 40 list, which recognizes young professionals working in business aviation for their career accomplishments and dedication to the industry. Bohlke, all while being a family man with his wife Lorie, daughter Isabelle and son Jack, was one of the distinguished honorees.
On Saturday, he won the Chosen Half Marathon in the San Antonio, Texas, area over a field of nearly a 1,000 runners in the 10th anniversary of the race billed as “the most beautiful race in Texas.” More importantly, the event is a fundraiser For His Children (FHC), a Christ-centered ministry that provides care and love to vulnerable children in Ecuador until they can be reunited with their birth family or adopted.
His time in the race was 1:18.48, and right at a 6 minutes-per-mile pace for the 13.1-mile distance.
Wallace Williams, the founder of the Virgin Pace Runners, has followed Bohlke’s career from childhood – as a family friend, supporter and one of his coaches and as an official of the Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation. He shared some of his thoughts on Bohlke’s running career.
“In the early years Billy, with the everlasting support of Tuti and Bill, his parents, ran V.I. Pace Runners events like the Children’s Race and the Olympic Day Run mostly in his hometown Frederiksted where he got hammered … in high school he began to find his way and walked on to the LSU track team and became their top middle distance runner … he hung in with the best of the SEC and at times the Kenyans … all this while setting V.I. national records, studying and learning how to fly a multitude of different airplanes and representing the Virgin Islands as a national team member in CAC Games, CAC Cross-Country Championships, marathons and a variety of road races.
“He really loves to run and compete; it helps him think through things on his long runs. It’s amazing how he finds time for all he does like personally volunteering flight time to the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Aviation Career Education Academy and the Virgin Islands Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Youth Aviation Club. The enormity of impact of all that his life puts on him now and how he handles it attest to what running has done to help develop Billy, he’s a third generation pilot and aviation executive and an accomplished runner from the mile to 50 miles … he’s a productive Virgin Islander … to say the least.”