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Results Given for Beast of the East 5K, Triple Mini Triathlon

Top finishers of the Triple Mini Triathlon (L to R) - Mason Lambert, Dominic Pugliese, Dedrick Luikens, Esther Ellis, Kat BrownsdonThe V.I. Triathlon Federation (VITF) hosted two events early Sunday morning, which included the Beast of The East 5K (BOTE 5K) and the Triple Mini Triathlon. While most of the island was sleeping, participants of the first race were enjoying the breathtaking views of the sunrise on St. Croix’s eastern-most point of the island.

Nineteen runners towed the starting line at Cramer’s Park to take on the east-end "beast" at Point Udall and back. The front runners, two of whom are students at Good Hope Country Day, set a sub-7 min./mile pace and powered through the downhill to return in top speed. Tenth grader Dominic Pugliese, fresh off a good cross country season, was the winner in 21:19. Dedrick Luikens was second in 21:23, and 10-year-old Mason Lambert was third in 21:59. The finish times are considered good for such a challenging course. Esther Ellis was first for the women, in a time of 23:41, Savannah Logan was second in 23:56; Kat Brownsdon was third in 24:24.

Start of the Beast of the East 5K at Cramer's ParkSoon after crossing the line, six runners joined other triathletes in preparing for the next event, the Triple Mini Triathlon. In this event, participants had to complete a mini triathlon, which consisted of a 200-meter swim, a 5K bike and a .5-mile run, either once, twice or three times. All but one competitor, Mason Lambert, took on the triple distance.

After a short run up the beach to the first buoy, Dedrick Luikens and Dom Pugliese finished the point-to-point swim and jumped on their bikes to head back up to the top of Point Udall. Stephen Swanton was close behind on the bike until he suffered an issue with his pedal and had to ride in with a one-legged stroke.

Luikens maintained his lead through the end of the first round, with Pugliese about 20 seconds behind. Swanton finished the run about 30 seconds behind the leader, then he abandoned the race once he decided there was no ‘quick fix’ for his bike. With Swanton out of the race, Scott Fricks moved into third place. The men finished the third round in that same position: Dedrick in first place with a total time of 1:02:49, Dom in second place, Scott in third.

Kat Brownsdon, a newbie to St. Croix, was the first female to finish the 200-meter swim, but Esther Ellis, a strong cyclist, soon caught her on the ascent to point Udall. Ellis maintained her lead on Brownsdon for all three rounds and finished in a total time of 1:11:25.

The athletes who completed both the BOTE 5K and the Triple Mini were awarded a certificate for being ‘Fit for Four.’ Luikens was the top finisher; Pugliese was second; Ellis was third.

The VITF concluded the event with a holiday raffle for its members. The next event on the schedule is the VITF Duathlon, a run/bike/run race, which will be held on Feb. 19.

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