“The 50 miles that I ran at the St. Croix Scenic 50 are as challenging as any of the 50 miles at Badwater! The St. Croix Scenic 50 should be on every ultra-runner’s list. It kicked my ass!” These words from Frank McKinney, eight time competitor at the Badwater 135-mile Ultramarathon, the world’s toughest foot race according to National Geographic, were one of the highest compliments a race director could receive on a course that combines some of the best views of the island with its most rugged terrain. January 26, 2014 marked the fifth edition of the St. Croix Scenic 50, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ only ultramarathon, with 50 mile individual, 50 mile team relay, and 50 kilometer individual events. An especially rainy December left runners facing lots of mud on the course this year in addition to the three H’s: heat, humidity, and hills (pushing 25% grade at points). In spite of the added challenge, all of the runners/teams made it to the picture-perfect beach finish line at The Buccaneer!
St. Croix local and owner/operator of Jolly Roger Charters, Captain Mike Klein, finished in first place for the third year in a row completing his fifth St. Croix Scenic 50 with a time of 9 hours 22 minutes 5 seconds. Local runners Dedrick Luikens, Jason Snow, John Salo, and Juan Robles finish first for the team relay event setting a new course record of 6 hours 35 minutes 20 seconds. Debra Morgan from Missouri had never run beyond a marathon before coming to St. Croix. Not only did she finish first overall in the 50 Km event in 6 hours 47 minutes 6 seconds, she said it was, “the most amazing, challenging, and fantastic race I have ever run!”
Aside from the course's difficulty and breath-taking views, the St. Croix Scenic 50 is defined by the enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers/sponsors. Every single participant has remarked on how well supported and encouraged they felt by the volunteers along the course. “Thank you” cannot be said enough to these wonderful volunteers, sponsors, and host, The Buccaneer. Taken as a whole, St. Croix is the proud home of one of the best ultramarathons in the world! But don’t just take our word for it. When he arrived on St. Croix from frigid Massachusetts, Lee Dickey was just glad to be out of the cold, but after the race he said, “having run 156+ ultras over 27 years, the St. Croix 50 miler was by far the most fun.” So mark your calendars for Sunday, January 25, 2015 for the 6th Annual St. Croix Scenic when Captain Mike will celebrate turning 50 by running 50 miles on his birthday, and we’ll see you next year!
I'm organizing the 50 Mile Ultramarathon on St. Croix, USVI while parenting, running, working (occasionally) and loving life, among other things!