Sunday morning was perfect for the 60 young athletes running and cycling around Altoona Lagoon Park in the St. Croix Kids’ Duathlon. A cool breeze was blowing off the sea and the trees provided plenty of shade from the early morning sun. The kids poured it on and supporters cheered as each and every one ran over the finish line.
Virgin Islands Triathlon Federation and the Rotary Club of St. Croix Mid Isle sponsored the race, part of the Kids Tri Vi race series.
Scott Fricks, president of the federation, said the race teaches children how to do a triathlon, so in the future they will know how to do it properly. “Hopefully they will make it a lifetime sport,” Fricks added. “The races get the whole family involved.”
Raheem Pedro, 15, said it was his first time in a duathlon and he decided to try it and then see if he wanted to take up racing as a sport.
Mikey Dizon-Bumann, first-place winner in the seven to eight age group, won his heat and decided to run in the next age group too. He looked a little beat but he was hanging in there.
“He really pushed himself last year, coming in first and second,” Michelle Dizon said. “He loves biking and makes good time with it.”
Mathilde Gregersen, age eight, was the first girl in her group to cross the finish line. Her brother Gustave, 5, came in first in the five to six year old group. They are Danish youngsters enrolled at AZ Academy, visiting St. Croix for two months with their parents.
“It was suggested to us by other parents at the academy that we get the children registered in the race,” Camilla Gregersen said. “We are so happy we got them involved.”
Rotarians were manning the registration and refreshment tables and they were busy at the intersections and along the race route directing the children and warning motorists of the race. A few Rotarians rode their bikes along with the children keeping an eye on them. Carl Christensen, Mid Isle Rotarian, said the race is a tremendous opportunity for the children and it adds to the Rotary’s list of service to children.
The federation provided 24 bikes for youngsters to use that didn’t have their own bike. They volunteered and also provided helmets, bike racks and cones.
Fricks said the turnout was the biggest they have had on St. Croix. Theresa Harper, secretary of the federation, said 24 first-timers toed the line in the run/bike/run event, including competitors from 11 different schools.
The Rotary hosted the event and provided raffle prizes, refreshments and support to the racers. Denali Asset Management gave "race series" t-shirts, V.I. Department of Tourism provided water bottles/bags and Cheeseburgers In Paradise and Champs gave gift certificates.
In the five to six -year-old group Gustav Gregersen came in first with Tyrese Chung in second and Carl Rasmussen took third in the .25 mile run/.5 mile bike/ .25 mile run race.
Mikey Dizon-Bumann was first in the seven to eight age group with Rockwell Elser in second and Mathilde Gregersen coming in third in the .25 mile run/.5 mile bike/ .25 mile run race.
In the nine to 11 age group Cooper Crowther took first and John Austin won second place. And Gabriel Sanes came in third in the .5 mile run/1 mile bike/ .5 mile run.
Adriel Sanes came in first in the 12 to 15 age group doing a .5 mile run/2 mile bike/ 1 mile run. Kimani Johnson placed second and Eddie Richards was in third place.
The next race is the St. Croix Kids’ Triathlon on March 18 at Cramer’s Park.