The Virgin Islands U.S. Track and Field Federation (VITFF) has announced that V.I. national team member Eduardo Garcia ran a personal best and set a new national record in the marathon posting a time of 2:18.50 in the Chevron Houston Marathon on Sunday. He improved his time from his first marathon run in Rotterdam in 2017 of 2:25, which broke the national record of 2:27 by Calvin Dallas.
Garcia’s performance puts him at the number one position in the Caribbean, the top five in Central America and Caribbean, the top 5 in Pan America (the western hemisphere) and near the top 50 in the world. He was a successful distance and cross-country runner at NCAA Division I powerhouse the University of Florida where he and V. I. national teammate hurdler Eddie Lovett help the Gators to several national championship titles.
Garcia made the switch from track to the road and set the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 as his goal. Before the switch he finished fourth in the CAC Games 10,000 meters in 2014 in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He took a brief detour from his marathon preparation to represent the V.I. last summer in the CAC Games 10,000 meters in Barranquilla where he finished eighth. His road success followed with national records in the half-marathon, 10K and marathon.
“I followed Eduardo’s race online Sunday and was amazed at his per mile average. He was running off sub-2:19 pace at 5 minutes and 24 seconds per mile after the first 5K, then for the next ten miles right as planned 2:19 pace at around 5:19 per mile; then at 15 ½ miles he was at 5:27 per mile. I thought this is not good, and then the next 5K he got back on pace and what was really remarkable — he ran through the wall and dropped in a couple of 5:04 miles to get under 2:19… exciting! What a great effort…we are so proud of him,” said Wallace Williams, VITFF general secretary.
Garcia’s plan now is to get back on the track for a short while in the late spring for speed work and as part of preparation for the Pan American Games marathon at which, given his superb performance in Houston, he has a very good chance to qualify. The marathon will be held in August in Lima, Peru.
Garcia expressed his excitement and thanked the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee U.S. and the V.I. Track and Field Federation for their support and to be able to represent his country successfully.