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St. John's Burkholder, Harper Win Marathon

Jan. 2, 2005 – It was dark on New Year's Day when a small group of serious marathon runners toed the line for the start of the 3rd St. Croix Millennium Marathon. The new course provided all that was needed for the runners to enjoy the effort of running the required 26.2 miles of the west end of St. Croix.
According to a press release from the V.I. Pace Runners, in the early going Kurt Hallock of San Diego, Calif. and Richard Jean-Pierre who recently moved to St.Croix from Canada, set the pace on the long and strait stretch of Queen Mary Highway; a few meters back were Leopold Fredericks, of Frederiksted, Fabian Constable of St. Lucia and Steve Burkholder, St. John. and then Theresa Harper, Mike Klein, Gunnar Sanden of St.Croix, were in pursuit. At five miles at the bakery in Frederiksted the two front runners appeared to dominate the field as they stepped up the pace on the Veterans Drive south along the shore to the pool and a quarter of the way through the race at 6.2 miles. Anticipated crowds of people welcoming in the new year were not there. Some $3,000 in prize money for the top finishers would be theirs as each of the marathon runners would benefit from the support which included V.I. Police, V.I. Cycling Federation cyclists, sponsors, V.I. Pacer Runners volunteers, among others.
And so it would be at the mid-way point of the race where Burkholder could be heard to say to Leopold Fredericks running with him stride for stride, "let’’s go get them" and off he went with a couple of surges to put him in front of the race as he came back to Fort Frederik and head for Ham's Bluff turn around. Other places in the race changed also with Fredericks, Klein, Harper moving up and Hallock and Constable dropping off the a bit as Burkholder won the race with a time of 3 hours 15 minutes, bettering his New York City Marathon time by a half hour. Richard Jean-Pierre held on for second place in 3:23; Leopold Fredericks improved on his last marathon in St. Croix by a half hour also was third in 3:29; Mike Klein was fourth in 3:35 and 62 year-old marathon veteran Gunnar Sanden fifth in 3:40; Kurt Hallock took sixth in 4:08, Fabian Constable seventh in 4:26; Errol Chichester finished in 4:42 to complete his first marathon and 62-year-old Larry Williams, completing his 66th marathon in 4:59 for eighth place.
Theresa Harper made it two in a row as she is now the top, local, distance runner with her winning time of 3:48. Two other women, Louise Stapleton, who initially decided that she would just try the race as a long training run, took second for women in 4:59 and Susan Daley who has traveled all the way from Chicago each time for the race, she is with a group that aims to run a marathon in each state. Her time for third place was 6:15.
Two runners in the race over 60 years of age, Larry Williams and Gunnar Sanden have a combined total of more than 100 marathons between them.
The next V.I.Pace Runners' event is The Children Race on Friday Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. at the start of the Children’’s Parade followed by the 3Kings Mile on Saturday Jan. 8 at 10 a.m. The Children Race starts at the corner of Fisher and King streets and finishes at Fort Frederik. The 3Kings Mile starts at Claude O. Markoe School and finishes at Fort Frederik.
For information call 777-0258.

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