St. Croix Hosted Its Thirtieth Major Triathlon This Past Weekend

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Rebecca Hensley

Athletes Competed in America's Paradise at Another Unforgettable Race

The island of St. Croix welcomed athletes from around the world for the Beauty & The Beast Triathlon that took place on December 2, 2018. Nicknamed the “race to rebuild,” the event focused around community support and the island’s recovery after Hurricane Maria passed over it in September 2017. This year’s race was headed by VI TRI, a nonprofit organization, who aimed to raise funds for three local nonprofits, all of whom lost their homes after the September storm.

The race weekend kicked off with a Friday night Tri Fête in downtown Christiansted where athletes enjoyed shopping and dining at local retail shops and restaurants, many of whom offered discounts to those competing in the race weekend. The event also included live music at multiple restaurants, Jazz in the Park at Fort Christianvaern, a puppy parade led by the Animal Welfare Center and an 80’s band at the Caravelle Hotel & Casino main stage.

On Saturday, athletes had the opportunity to hear testimonies and race recommendations from three race legends, 8-time IRONMAN® Champion Wendy Ingraham, two-time duathlon world champion Catriona Morrison and IRONMAN® Champion & Triathlon Hall of Famer Karen Smyers. Each of the three athletes have competed in St. Croix in the past and returned to support the legendary race as members of three relay teams.

The beautiful Caribbean weather was in full display on Sunday morning as athletes arrived at the transition area located in the lawn of Fort Christianvaern, a National Park Historic Site. Volunteers and spectators watched on as the athletes took off into turquoise blue waters, passing by the historic Roseway Schooner. The bike portion of the race proved again to be the most challenging as cyclists made their way along the scenic north shore, leading towards the world famous “beast” and its 15% average grade climb. Once racers conquered “the beast” and returned to Christiansted, the scenic run course through The Buccaneer Resort and historic Christiansted was the last challenge left between them and the finish line, where spectators, volunteers and Moko Jumbie cultural stilt dancers cheered them on.

This year’s half-distance course winner was St. Croix resident Stephen Swanton (5:17:46), followed by Travis Montgomery (5:50:36) in second place and Wayne Nichols (6:00:19) in third place. The first-place woman in the half-distance course was Julie Sommer (6:02:18), with Esther Ellis (6:06:11) in second and Megan Lambert (6:30:57) in third. Team Annaly Insurance, composed of Brent Mays, Scott Marusa and Billy Bohlke, took first in the Half-Distance Relay. The Sprint Course was won by Dominic Pugliese (1:10:25) who recently represented the US Virgin Islands in the 2018 Junior Olympic Games followed by Dedrick Luikens (1:10:35) then Mason Lambert (1:14:07), the youngest competitor in the race. Team VING4, made up of Donna Prock, Garfield Ferdinand and Carl Christopher, placed first in the Sprint Relay. This year’s race debuted a sprint aquathlon with Savannah Logan (0:52:24) placing first, followed by Colleen Cooke (0:53:54) then Kyle Suddarth (0:56:58).

At the awards banquet, Race Director, Theresa Harper, announced that the race raised $30,000 to distribute to My Brother’s Table, the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center and the Caribbean Centers for the Boys and Girls of the Virgin Islands. Winners were awarded at the banquet with handcrafted jewelry from local jewelry stores Crucian Gold and iB Designs.

The race committee will continue their focus on community support with three new local nonprofit beneficiaries announced early next year. This year’s race could not have been possible without the support of the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and many other supporters and sponsors. VI TRI looks forward to continuing the triathlon legacy in America’s Paradise with the 2019 Beauty & The Beast race set for December 8th.

For more details on the race, visit

Race Sponsors and Supporters: US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, Broadband VI, The Buccaneer Beach and Golf Resort, Joel & Jackie Holt, LnL Publishing (an RT Park Company), Edison Advisors, LLC, balter Restaurant, Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP, Caravelle Hotel & Casino, Denali Asset Management, Diageo USVI, Masters Capital, Peil Charitable Trust, Plaza Extra East, QE IV Ferry, Seaside Market and Deli, A Better Copy, Aquafina, Leatherback Brewery, International Private Bank, Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Seaborne Airlines, West Indies Company, Big Beards’ Adventure Tours, JKC Communications, Ocwen Mortgage Servicing, O’Neale’s Transport, Armstrong Advisory Group, Gallows Bay Hardware, Hertz St. Croix, H.H. Tire & Battery, J. Benton Construction, ADORN VI, Supergoop!, Beeston Hill Fitness Center, Biofreeze, Business World, Caribbean Sea Adventures, Crucian Gold, DPNR, Public Works, Dick’s Garage Band, Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, Gatorade, GoToStCroix.Com, The Home Depot, Honey Stinger, Hotel on the Cay, Hunter Foods, iB Designs, Plessen Healthcare, Reliable Rentals St. Croix, SBR Sports, Inc, Squirt, St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventure, Toni Lance, USCG, VIPD, DPNR and World Ocean School.