Conditions were perfect and the competition keen, but when the crowd cheered the first man to cross the finish line at Sunday’s 14th annual Love City Triathlon and Aquathon, St. John resident Matt Crafts had beat out last year’s winner, Brent Lynn, by nearly nine minutes in the triathlon competition.
“Hawksnest Hill was a challenge,” Crafts, 35, said right after the finish along the road at Maho Bay Beach.
He said he won because he swam fast, biked fast and ran fast.
Crafts had a time of one hour, 49 minutes and one second. Lynn completed the swim, bicycle and run in one hour, 57 minutes and 40 seconds. Crafts was last year’s aquathon winner.
Lynn, 34 and a St. John resident, said he saved all his effort for the bicycle part of the race.
“I bike most of the time. I don’t usually run and I started swimming a couple of weeks ago,” he said.
Lukata Samuel, who turned 17 on Saturday, celebrated the event with a third place finish in the men’s division with a time of two hours and 30 seconds.
“It felt a lot better than last year,” he said.
He said he frequently bikes the hills on his home island of St. Thomas and practices swimming at the Red Hook pool.
To no one’s surprise, Theresa Harper, 47, of St. Croix won in the women’s division with a time of two hours and 18 seconds. While she doesn’t recall how many times she won it, she has been at the top or just behind multiple times.
“It was the toughest yet,” she said.
It was tough because she said she did much of the bicycle race with her back brake on. She said she then suffered on the run because she tried to make up for lost time.
Fellow St. Croix resident Bridget Campbell, 29, was right behind Harper with a time of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds.
She said the calm water was good for her swim, the hills and curves on the bicycle race were what she expected, and she did well on her run.
Tortola resident Sally Blackmore, 50, took third in the women’s division with a time of two hours, eight minutes and 22 seconds.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” she said, adding that this was the third time she competed in the race.
Corby Parfitt, 38, of St. Thomas was the first man to complete the aquathon – a combined swim and run. His time was 52 minutes and 42 seconds.
Laughing after he ran through the finish line, he said he was first because he remembered to tie his shoes properly.
“And then I put my head down and tried not to think about it,” he said.
Rob Gottschall, 36, of St. John, was second in the men’s division for the aquathon with a time of 56 minutes and 50 seconds. He said he trained by walking the hills.
Aarn Payne, 31, of St. John was third for the men in the aquathon event with a time of 57 minutes and 20 seconds. He said he trained by swimming and running a lot.
St. John resident Jodie Tanino, 54, was first for the women in the aquathon. She said the rest she got the day before because she was sick and went to bed early was what probably helped her get to the finish line with a time of 59 minutes and nine seconds.
Trish Salter, 28, of St. John was second for the women in the aquathon with a time of one hour and 38 seconds. A teacher at Gifft Hill School, she said she had nothing to do all summer but train.
Adrianne Bard, 40, of St. Thomas, was the third woman across the aquathon finish with a time of one hour, three minutes and 17 seconds.
The team of Natasha, Garreth and James, who didn’t list their last names on the entry form, from Tortola, won the relay event with a time of one hour, 45 minutes and 45 seconds.
The event brought out several dozen supporters who came to cheer on their friends and family.
Payne’s wife, Robyn Payne, and two children, Brooklyn, 4, and Kallen, 2, were ready to root for their favorite.
“We’re going to watch Daddy do his race,” Kallen said.
St. John Rescue was on hand to assist in case anyone had an accident or took sick.
“We’re here to help the community,” member Preston Pollock said.
St. John resident Miles Stair said that was the reason he came out to volunteer at the finish line.
“It’s a way to give back,” he said.
Jeff Miller, who is the chief mover and shaker on the organizing committee, said some of the nearly 35 volunteers have done every one of the 14 races. He said 25 people participated in the triathlon and 28 in the aquathon. They came from St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Tortola, Puerto Rico, and the mainland.
And Jude Woodcock, 57, another stalwart on the organizing committee, competed in the triathlon just 10 months after having a hip replacement.
“I was able to train on my racing bike for the first time in two years,” she said, noting that her hip performed perfectly.
The Interisland award went to St. Croix.
The results will be posted at www.stjohnlandsharks.com.