Feb. 9, 2006 – The annual 8 Tuff Miles race on St. John just keeps getting bigger.
When the race kicks off at 7:15 a.m. Feb. 25, organizer Peter Alter expects close to 700 people to start in the 10th annual race in both the runner and walker categories.
"There's a lot of buzz about the event," Alter said.
Last year 589 people crossed the finish line at the Coral Bay ball field.
The event has certainly grown since 1997's race, which featured just 21 participants.
Alter said the runners will start in the parking lot behind the V.I. National Park Visitors Center. However, for safety reasons, those ages 12 and under will start with the walkers in the Visitors Center ball field.
While the competition is keen among many of the runners, the community groups and businesses that run the water stations spaced out along the route also compete for the best water station. He said there will also be music at various points along the route.
Last year, for the second year in a row, St. John resident Jeremy Zuber sped across the 8 Tuff Miles finish line first. His time was 50:02.
Cheryl Jamerinio, 30, of St. Thomas took first-place honors for the women last year with a time of 1:03:51.
The year 2004 saw course records set. Zuber made it around the 8.375-mile course with a time of 49:32 to set the men's record, while Letitia Dusich of St. Croix set the women's record with a time of 57:15.
Alter said Zuber is again gunning to hit the 48:02 mark so he can win a $2,000 prize donated by the Jolly Dog stores.
Except for Zuber, Alter said he won't know until the day of the race who will show up to compete.
Alter said two ferries — instead of the usual one — will leave Red Hook, St. Thomas at 6:30 a.m. so all runners can get to St. John in plenty of time for the 7:15 a.m. start.
"The first finishers will show up in Coral Bay just after 8 a.m.," he said.
Alter said there will be no registration the morning of the race. Participants can register online until Saturday at www.8tuffmiles.com, but Alter said this is a procedure mainly used by people who don't live in the territory.
Alter will register participants from 4 to 8 pm. Feb. 16 at Baked in the Sun at the Marketplace shopping center and from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant in Coral Bay.
From Feb. 20 through 24, he will register people from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in front of Connections in Cruz Bay. On the same dates, registration will be held from noon to 2 p.m. in front of Chelsea Drug Center in the Marketplace.
Additionally, Alter will be at Maho Bay Camps from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 22, at Baked in the Sun from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 23 and at the Friends of the Park office in Mongoose Junction from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 24.
Participants may also register at Polli's Restaurant in Cruz Bay until Feb. 23.
St. Thomas participants can register until Feb. 22 at Caribbean Surf Co.
Registration runs $30 for adults and $15 for children 19 and under. Alter said that the first 45 children accompanied by their parents will have their registration fee waived thanks to donations from island businesses.
The event wraps up with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. in Cruz Bay Park.
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