Aug. 31, 2008 — James Weekes of Nevis beat out last year's winner, St. Maarten resident Frits Bus, for a first-place men's finish at Sunday's Love City Triathlon. A total of 97 people crossed the finish line.
"I didn't come this far to lose," Weekes, 36, said as he caught his breath after crossing the finish line at Annaberg.
With Bus second, Jason Snow of St. Croix came in third.
In the women's division, Theresa Harper of St. Croix beat St. John residents Jodie Tanino and Jude Woodcock by a big margin to win the event.
Wet weather conditions caused by Tropical Storm Hanna's passage to the northwest forced organizers to make drastic changes to the bike course as well as minor changes in the running course.
After the swimmers came out of the water at Maho Bay Beach, the bikers went as far along the North Shore Road as Peter Bay, turned around and returned to Francis Bay instead of heading around the island. They finished at Annaberg, where runners raced back and forth to Francis Bay.
"The hills are so dangerous when they're wet. They can't get the traction to get up them and going down is dangerous," Race Director Louise Wearmouth said, discussing the reasons for altering the course.
The was Weekes' first time entering the triathlon.
"It was tough and wet. I couldn't push as hard as I wanted to on my bike. I couldn't stand up to power up the hills," Weekes said.
He said by the time he neared the finish line in the run portion of the triathlon, he was on his "reserves."
Bus, congratulating him on his win, told Weekes that he knew he "had something left" when they neared the finish line.
A 52-year-old physician, Bus said he thought the alternative bike route was more challenging that the usual route. But the wet pavement was an issue.
"Two times I skidded," Bus said.
Snow, a 33-year-old physician's assistant, said the muggy conditions posed problems for him.
"I feel like I'm on the edge of heat exhaustion. I have chills and nausea," he said, sitting on the damp ground.
Harper, 42, and a Country Day School teacher, said she enjoyed the bike course.
"It was challenging in a whole new way, but it was difficult to control the bike on the slick roads," she said.
Tanino, 49 works at Asolare Restaurant. She just returned from competing in the Quebec Marathon, which put her in good shape for the triathlon.
"I had no problems, but one handlebar on my bike twisted," she said.
Woodcock, a 52-year-old personal trainer and dance and tumbling instructor, served on the race committee. She gave all the competitors high marks for adjusting so graciously to the course changes.
As for herself, she said would like to go a little faster.
"I have to accept whatever I do because of my age," she said, laughing.
The wet conditions caused a few bicycle wipeouts that resulted mainly in cases of road rash.
Susie Shipman, a 33-year-old dive instructor from St. Croix, was slowing down to go around a corner when the "back end of her bike came out." Down she went. She opted to retire from the race when she saw her hand dripping blood.
Athletes also competed in a swim and run course called the duathlon.
"The weather was perfect. It was cool with no sun, and it didn't rain at all," Elizabeth Conklin, 32, of St. Thomas said. She was first across the finish in the duathlon.
The BVI team of Anthony Spencer, Garth Thomas and Marc Downing topped the relay teams.
St. Croix won the inter-island award.
The St. John Landsharks, which organized the event, gave the William Gladfelter award for overcoming adversity to St. John resident Joe Kessler. Woodcock said that while Kessler doesn't race and has faced numerous medical challenges, he helps support the triathlon.
While the athletes were there in hopes of making it across the finish line in good time, the triathlon volunteers came out to help.
"I love being part of the community and helping out in any way I can," St. John resident Michelle Keeley said.
1. James Weekes, Nevis, 2:05:17
2. Frits Bus, St. Maarten, 2:06:10
3. Jason Snow, St. Croix, 2:11:31
1. Theresa Harper, St. Croix, 2:18:06
2. Jodie Tanino, St. John, 2:35:16
3. Jude Woodcock, St. John, 2:42:03
1. Anthony Spencer, Garth Thomas, Marc Downing, BVI, 2:01:51
2. Tory Lane, Pretlow Majette, Margaret Majette, St. John, 2:10:32
3. Kip Crew, Austin Payne, Kip Crew, St. John, 2:13:01
1.Elizabeth Conklin, St. Thomas 41:21
2. Rachel McDonald, BVI, 43:34
3. Megan Cliff, St. John 47:25
1. Paulius Mikalainis, Denville, N.J., 42:15
2. Adam Thill, St. John, 42:42
3. Barrett Goff, Louisville, Kentucky, 42:50
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.