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Aussie Alexander Grabs 4th St. Croix Triathlon Title

May 4, 2008 — The 20th annual St. Croix Ironman Triathlon had a familiar face crossing the finish line Sunday, as Australia's Craig Alexander took his fourth title in six years.
Greeting his wife, Nerida, and daughter, Lucy, before finishing the race, Alexander proceeded to high-five various spectators, then passed through the legs of a nearby mocko jumbie to pull in with a time of 4:05:34. Already waiting was a herd of reporters and photographers.
"The more you win, the more pressure there is, especially the kind of pressure you put on yourself," Alexander said. "But coming out here, doing it again — it makes it all the more sweeter. I love this race, and I will be out here again."
The race kicked off Sunday at 6 a.m. with a 1.24-mile swim around Christiansted Harbor. When asked about the first part of the race, Alexander said he was third out of the water — which made him worried about his competition, especially Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium, who finished the triathlon about three-and-a-half minutes later with an overall time of 4:08:41.
"He's so good, and was in top form today," Alexander said. "But I was able to switch out of the swim and get some good time in on the run — I felt I was the best runner out there, and that helped push me through to the end."
Through the first event, the swim, Alexander was ahead of Vanhoenacker by nearly two minutes. Next the competitors began a demanding 56-mile bike ride that included sharp turns, twisting roadways and the legendary "Beast," a 600-foot climb with a 14 to 18 percent grade.
Vanhoenacker took the lead on the bike path, doing the ride in 2:19:09 while Alexander completed the second section in 2:23:36. Finally, on the 13.1-mile foot course, Alexander showed why he calls the St. Croix event "his favorite race," as he put on his running shoes and put away the competition with a time of 1:15:58. Vanhoenacker finished the run in 1:21:40.
"Last week I was in Portugal, running the race," Vanhoenacker said. "I think this was a much stronger race — I didn't know what to expect. But I had fun out there, even though it hurt a little."
Australia's Richie Cunningham came in third, with an overall time of 4:10:02.
Other results, such as women's category winners and this year's sprint winners, were not available as of press time.
The sidelines in downtown Christiansted were packed with spectators Sunday, including Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson.
"This event, as it relates to triathlons, has become a staple event for St. Croix — people look forward to it every year," Nelson said. "It gives us a real economic boost, and for the participants, I think they really enjoy coming here and enjoying the hospitality of the people."
Participating for the first time in the sprint competition — a shortened version of the Ironman course — was St. Croix native Madeline Cruz, who said she had "always wanted" to take part in the annual event.
"I swam about three days last week in preparation," she said. "Hopefully next year I'll be better prepared."
For 15-year-old Will Peil, Sunday's event was the culmination of weeks of training. A Country Day School student, Perl took third place in the sprint competition.
"I usually bike about two to three times a week, about 26 miles," he said. "I'm also on the Dolphins swim team, so I get to practice that twice a week. This is my first year doing the sprint, but I've taken part in about five other triathlons before. It was a great race — I'm glad I did it."
As an affiliate of the Ironman World Championships, the St. Croix Ironman 70.3 Triathlon offers participating amateur or "age-group" athletes a chance to fill 28 qualifying slots in the Hawaii Ironman, as well as 50 Ironman 70.3 World Championship spots. About 900 competitors participated this year, according to event organizer Tom Guthrie. Sunday's event also brings a purse of $50,000.
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May 4, 2008 -- The 20th annual St. Croix Ironman Triathlon had a familiar face crossing the finish line Sunday, as Australia's Craig Alexander took his fourth title in six years.
Greeting his wife, Nerida, and daughter, Lucy, before finishing the race, Alexander proceeded to high-five various spectators, then passed through the legs of a nearby mocko jumbie to pull in with a time of 4:05:34. Already waiting was a herd of reporters and photographers.
"The more you win, the more pressure there is, especially the kind of pressure you put on yourself," Alexander said. "But coming out here, doing it again -- it makes it all the more sweeter. I love this race, and I will be out here again."
The race kicked off Sunday at 6 a.m. with a 1.24-mile swim around Christiansted Harbor. When asked about the first part of the race, Alexander said he was third out of the water -- which made him worried about his competition, especially Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium, who finished the triathlon about three-and-a-half minutes later with an overall time of 4:08:41.
"He's so good, and was in top form today," Alexander said. "But I was able to switch out of the swim and get some good time in on the run -- I felt I was the best runner out there, and that helped push me through to the end."
Through the first event, the swim, Alexander was ahead of Vanhoenacker by nearly two minutes. Next the competitors began a demanding 56-mile bike ride that included sharp turns, twisting roadways and the legendary "Beast," a 600-foot climb with a 14 to 18 percent grade.
Vanhoenacker took the lead on the bike path, doing the ride in 2:19:09 while Alexander completed the second section in 2:23:36. Finally, on the 13.1-mile foot course, Alexander showed why he calls the St. Croix event "his favorite race," as he put on his running shoes and put away the competition with a time of 1:15:58. Vanhoenacker finished the run in 1:21:40.
"Last week I was in Portugal, running the race," Vanhoenacker said. "I think this was a much stronger race -- I didn't know what to expect. But I had fun out there, even though it hurt a little."
Australia's Richie Cunningham came in third, with an overall time of 4:10:02.
Other results, such as women's category winners and this year's sprint winners, were not available as of press time.
The sidelines in downtown Christiansted were packed with spectators Sunday, including Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson.
"This event, as it relates to triathlons, has become a staple event for St. Croix -- people look forward to it every year," Nelson said. "It gives us a real economic boost, and for the participants, I think they really enjoy coming here and enjoying the hospitality of the people."
Participating for the first time in the sprint competition -- a shortened version of the Ironman course -- was St. Croix native Madeline Cruz, who said she had "always wanted" to take part in the annual event.
"I swam about three days last week in preparation," she said. "Hopefully next year I'll be better prepared."
For 15-year-old Will Peil, Sunday's event was the culmination of weeks of training. A Country Day School student, Perl took third place in the sprint competition.
"I usually bike about two to three times a week, about 26 miles," he said. "I'm also on the Dolphins swim team, so I get to practice that twice a week. This is my first year doing the sprint, but I've taken part in about five other triathlons before. It was a great race -- I'm glad I did it."
As an affiliate of the Ironman World Championships, the St. Croix Ironman 70.3 Triathlon offers participating amateur or "age-group" athletes a chance to fill 28 qualifying slots in the Hawaii Ironman, as well as 50 Ironman 70.3 World Championship spots. About 900 competitors participated this year, according to event organizer Tom Guthrie. Sunday's event also brings a purse of $50,000.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.