If you’re driving between Cruz Bay and Coral Bay Saturday morning, watch for runners on the road.
About 1,000 people are expected to participate in the 24th annual 8 Tuff Miles race, which runs 8.38 miles from the V.I. National Park Ballfield along Centerline Road to Coral Bay Ballfield.
The race kicks off at 7:15 a.m. Saturday. The fastest finishers will be in Coral Bay within the hour, but the entire race takes several hours to complete.
Held the last Saturday of February, the race began in 1997 with 21 runners finishing the course. It grew rapidly, adding about a hundred more runners per year, peaking at 1,207 finishers in 2013. Since then it has hovered a little below that high-water mark. Following Hurricane Irma, organizers cancelled the race for 2018 as the island struggled to recover from the storm, but more than 200 people showed up on Feb. 24, the date it would have taken place, for a “fun run.” In 2019, 941 runners finished the course.
The event raises money for scholarships. Since 2003, when event organizers started awarding scholarships, more than $70,000 has been given out.
According to the race website, this course starts and finishes at or very close to sea level, but rises to an elevation of 999 feet just before the five-mile mark.
The award ceremony takes place in Mongoose Junction at 4 p.m.