Four previous winners of the St. Croix Triathlon will no doubt be among the stars Sunday in the Beauty and the Beast Triathlon, and this year they will participate, not as professionals, but on relay teams with local athletes.
Race legends Tim O’Donnell and Mirinda Carfrae met on St. Croix in 2009, got married and are returning this year with their daughter and parents. O’Donnell, who won the Ironman World Championships in October in Hawaii, still holds the St. Croix course record, nine Ironman 70.3 wins and six Armed Forces National Championships. Carfrae still holds the Ironman World Championship run course record and four first-place wins on St. Croix.
Other celebrities participating in the 31st St. Croix race Sunday, Dec. 8, include Angela Naeth, who holds the St. Croix female course record set when she won in 2012, and Wendy Ingraham, a former pro who has competed on St. Croix around 20 times and is now a coach.
“There is a reason I have returned to St. Croix’s triathlon for over 20 years. The people, the challenge of the course, the food; it is truly a race you cannot miss on your bucket list,” Ingraham said on the triathlon event website.
The public and athletes can meet the celebrity pros at noon Friday, Dec. 6, at Fort Christiansvaern. Saturday, Dec. 7, the pros will hold a forum before the 1 p.m. mandatory course talk.
The 150 plus entrants in this year’s event will compete in three races – two of the races can be entered with a relay partner. Theresa Harper, one of two certified race directors for the V.I. TRI race committee, said the pros would join relays for the half distance triathlon and the sprint.
The third event is the aquathon, a new race that is a half-mile swim and a four-meter run.
“We’re ready for them,” Harper said, commending the V.I. Department of Public Works, V.I. Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard and National Park Service for their support.
This year’s activities begin Thursday, Dec. 5, with a practice swim from 11 a.m. to noon in the Christiansted Harbor, and bike services all day at 2205 Church St. On Friday, there is another practice swim at the same time and place.
Athletes can check-in and get their race number between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Friday night, downtown Christiansted will host a Crucian Cultural Night from 5 to 11 p.m. with food, shopping and music throughout town.
On Sunday, the first swimmers will hit the water at 7 a.m. at the Hotel on the Cay. And the race will begin.
Last year, the race committee formed a nonprofit organization and partnered with the Virgin Islands Triathlon Federation to reorganize the event. They donated more than $30,000 to hurricane-ravaged charities – The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center, My Brother’s Table and the Boys and Girls Club of St. Croix. This year’s beneficiaries are the Virgin Islands Special Olympics, Lighthouse Mission and Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies.