Aug. 19, 2004 – St. John's annual Love City Triathlon has a new day and a new end location.
Instead of running the event on Labor Day, the practice for the last five years, the St. John Landsharks have switched the day this year to Sunday, Sept. 5. The triathlon begins at 7 a.m. The change will make it easier for people from other islands to compete, since many private-sector workers don't get Labor Day off as a holiday.
The course will end at the Annaberg parking lot instead of in Coral Bay, as it has in years past.
The event will begin with a half-mile swim at Great Maho Bay. Once out of the water, participants will hop on their bikes for a 14-mile ride around the island to the Annaberg parking lot. The third leg will be a four-mile run back and forth between Annaberg and Francis Bay.
"It's one of the prettiest sprints and race courses around, but also one of the most challenging," organizer Louise DePuy said, referring to St. John's hills.
DePuy won the women's division last year with a time of 1:56:27. Kent Bradbury took the honors home to St. Croix in the men's division with a time of 1:44:57. A St. Croix team consisting of Alex Bradbury, Jamie Keyes and Hillman Johnson won the relay division with a time of 1:41:19.
Individual winners receive a hand-blown glass trophy. Relay winners receive merchandise from C4th, a Coral Bay company that machine embroiders polo shirts and hats.
The organizers also give an island award, which means the winning island's name gets engraved on a perpetual trophy.
DePuy said she expects about 65 people to take part in this year's triathlon, up from the 49 who participated in 2003.
Registration is open through Sept. 4. For individuals the fee is $30. For relay teams it's $25 per person. There will be no registration on the morning of the event.
Registration forms are available on St. John at Connections in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay; on St. Thomas at Port of Sale Mall in Havensight and Caribbean Surf Co. on the Charlotte Amalie waterfront; and on St. Croix at Endurance Sports in Sunny Isle Shopping Center. You also can send an e-mail to Louise at Maho to request a form.
The registration fee includes a T-shirt and a goodie bag. DePuy said this year's T-shirt design depicting two sharks in athletic attire is the work of St. John artists Kat Sowa and her daughter, Shanna Moore.
Triathlon participants must attend a pre-race meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at Maho Bay Camps. The last chance to register will be at the meeting.
Maho Bay Camps is offering a free night's stay to triathlon participants. Residents of the territory, the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico can take advantage of the usual summer local rate to stay additional nights $37.50 a night for two adults, $6 a night for any additional adults and no charge for children.
Folks coming from the Eastern Caribbean can take advantage of special airfares being offered by LIAT, too.
DePuy acknowledged that running the annual event as hurricane season heads for its peak is always a risk. "But in six years we've never had to cancel because of weather," she said.
The event is growing, and the fact that Labor Day is a holiday in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico is an incentive for athletes and their families from other islands to make the trip to St. John. The Maho Bay Camps lodging deal sweetens the pot.
DePuy said she has participated in several Eastern Caribbean sports events in the last year and this gave her the chance to spread the word about the Love City Triathlon. "This will give us diversity of athletes from other islands," she said.
Sponsors on board are Skinny Legs Restaurant and Bar, Gym in Paradise, Maho Bay Camps, Paradise Lumber, Seaborne Airlines, LIAT Ltd, GNC/Endurance Sports, and FM 104.3 The Buzz.
For more information about the triathlon, send an e-mail to Kathie McMurtrie or phone her at 779-4214. To arrange a stay at Maho Bay or to get details about the LIAT offer, e-maill DePuy or call her at 776-6240, ext. 211.
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