Feb. 6, 2007 — Grab your running shoes and get off the couch: the 11th annual 8 Tuff Miles race is set to go on Feb. 24.
"It's a community-based event where everyone is welcome for some exercise and outdoor activities," organizer Peter Alter said.
The event kicks off at 7:15 a.m. on the road behind the V.I. National Park Visitors Center in Cruz Bay. Participants will head 8.3 miles up hill and down dale along Centerline Road to the Coral Bay ball field.
Alter said the event this year will only have a runners category. In previous years, the event had categories for both walkers and runners, but Alter said it was not possible to ensure that people who entered as walkers didn't actually run.
However, he said that since physical fitness is the focus, people who would prefer to walk the course rather than run may participate, but their results will be included with the runners.
Alter said that the 100 highest finishers from last year's event will get choice spots at the front of the pack in the Top 100 Corral. He said this means that those participants don't have to make their way through the slower runners behind them.
The number of entries is capped at 700. Alter said this was to facilitate organization and to make sure that the race committee had enough supplies on hand.
The race has grown from 21 entries in 1997 to 627 in 2006.
The cost for registration is $30 for adults and $15 for youths age 19 and under. Alter said online registration closes Feb. 17.
Participants may register at the Tap Room in Mongoose Junction shopping center every day until Feb. 22.
Until the event, Alter will be registering participants every Tuesday and Thursday between 4 and 8 p.m. at Baked in the Sun at the Marketplace shopping center.
He'll also be registering people in front of Connections in Cruz Bay from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 19 through 23 and in front of Starfish market at the Marketplace shopping center from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 19 through 22.
Participants may also register at Caribbean Surf Co. on St. Thomas. The store has locations in downtown Charlotte Amalie, Havensight Mall and Red Hook Plaza. Registration at those locations ends Feb. 21.
"There is no Friday night registration this year," Alter said, explaining a departure from previous years.
Those who finish get a medal and a T-shirt.
There are also $300 cash prizes each for the top male and female finishers and trophies for the top three finishers in each of 14 age categories.
Anyone who breaks the time of 48:02 will go home with a $2,500 prize from Jolly Dog stores. Alter said that Jolly Dog adds $500 to the pot every year, but so far, no one has been able to collect.
"It's a doable time, but by a very talented runner," Alter said.
Alter said that the event also includes scholarships for the top boys and girls who participate. The two first-place finishers in the 12-and-under age groups both get a $500 scholarship to be tucked away for college. The top boy and girl in the 13-to-16 age group will each get $800 scholarships, while those in the 17-to-19 age group each receive a $1,000 scholarship.
The scholarships are funded by the sale of $10 raffle tickets. Only 700 tickets will be sold. The prizes include a three-night stay at the Westin Resort and Villas, a two-night stay at Caneel Bay Resort and a two-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas that comes with a $200 dinner gift certificate at the hotel's Bleu Water Restaurant and two $125 gift certificates at the hotel's spa. The raffle prize list also includes a titanium bracelet with a gold clasp from Verace and ruby cocktail ring from Colombian Emeralds.
Raffle tickets are available at Connections in Cruz Bay and the Body Deli at Mongoose Junction shopping center.
The men's course record was set in 2006 by St. John's Jeremy Zuber, who clocked a time of 49:20. Letitia Dusich set the women's record in 2004 with a time of 57:15.
Last year, women's winner Regina Loicano of St. John joined Zuber in receiving the top accolades. Her time was 58:05. Both Loicano and Zuber have won the event several times.
Alter said that Zuber is expected to participate again this year, but Loicano is taking time off from racing.
To register or for more information, visit the event website.
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