Feb. 9, 2003 – Blasts from the past made Saturday's 17th annual Toast-to-the-Captain Road Race on St. Croix one of the most exciting in years, as winners from years earlier set the pace in the scenic loop east of Christiansted — and finished in the top four spots.
The stage for this challenging 8.4-mile run was set many years ago when the likes of Jose Rodriquez, Marlon Williams and Calvin Dallas took turns at first place. Later George Jules appeared and dominated the event for a few years. All were back on Saturday to test their fitness level and make a fitting Black History Month tribute to Teddy Seymour, the first black man to sail around the world alone.
Jules, Dallas and Rodriquez paced one another from the start, stride for stride past the Buccaneer Hotel to Southgate, through Tipperrary and Mount Washington. At the turn at Sally's Fancy back to town, just past the 5 mile point, it appeared that Jules, who honed his skills on this very route with Dallas at his side, put about 30 meters on Rodriquez. At the 10k point at the top of Lowry Hill, it was status quo.
Down the hill and into Tide Village, Rodriquez regained contact as the three again became one going into the last mile. Rodriquez eased to the finish first in 50:10, just 4 seconds ahead of Jules, whose 50:14 edged by a tick on the clock Dallas's 50:15.
Williams, who's been in retirement and until the last few weeks had been running only three times a week, finished fourth in 54:33.
Among the women, Rachel Witty finished first in 60:44, Theresa Harper was second in 62:18, Jo Shim took third in 75:08 and Francis Gaskin, who walked the race, finished fourth, in 2 hours and 19 minutes.
The top 15 finishers overall:
1. Jose Rodriquez, 50:10
2. George Jules, 50:14
3. Calvin Dallas, 50:15
4. Marlon Williams, 54:33
5. Leopold Fredericks, 56:05
6. Rachel Witty, 60:44
7 Theresa Harper, 62:18
8. Alexander, 63:05
9. Juan Robles, 63:55
10. Miguel Mirandar, 65:18
11. Michael Hurst, 71:46
12. Jo Shim, 75:08
13. Teddy Seymour, 75:54
14. Ray Lutz, 80:55
15. Warren Stansbury, 87:51
Witty and Harper are tuning up for the Central America and Caribbean Cross-Country Championships and the Boston Marathon.
Many runners in Saturday's race are headed to St. John for the 8 Tuff Miles road race on Feb. 22. Williams won that race a couple of years ago and will be back; Dallas, Jules and Fredericks also are committed. Harper, Shim and Witty are possibilities. The St. John race, expected this year to attract upwards of 400 participants, has joined the annual The Women Race as the running contests with the largest fields in the territory.
The next event on the V.I. Pace Runners calendar is the 2nd annual Fair Race for Children, at the ribbon cutting of the Agriculture Fair on Saturday. Registration begins at the west walk-in gate at 10 a.m. The race is for boys and girls ages 13 and under. For more information call 777-0258 or visit the V.I. Pace Web site.
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