Male triathlon winner Brent Lynne.
Female triathlon winner Teresa Harper.
Male aquathon winner Matt Crafts.
A total of 60 athletes braved the St. John waves and hills during the 13th Annual Love City Triathlon and Aquathon on Sunday, September 2, and after besting the rest of the field in the water, on the bike and on the running course, Brent Lynne of St. John and Teresa Harper of St. Croix were the first triathlon finishers.
In the swim and run Aquathon field, Matt Crafts of St. John and Ashley Benson of St. Thomas crossed the finish line ahead of the pack. The winning relay triathlon team was comprised of swimmer Tory Lane, cyclist Ralph Antolino and runner Kevin Chipman.
All athletes began the morning at Maho Bay with a half-mile swim, made no easier with waves churned up by Tropical Storm Leslie. Triathletes and relay teams then hopped onto their bikes for a grueling 14 mile race along North Shore Road to Cruz Bay, up Centerline Road and back to Maho Bay along King’s Hill Road.
Triathletes and relay teams finished the morning’s competition with a 4.2 mile run which began and ended at Maho Bay.
Aquathon participants completed the same half-mile swim at Maho Bay before heading out on a 5K run which also ended at the Maho beach.
Winning his first triathlon, Lynne was the sixth person out of the water, completing the swim in 18 minutes and one second. Lynne overtook the pack on his bicycle, wrapping up 14 miles in only one hour, four minutes and 15 seconds. After posting a 33 minute and 41 second run, Lynne cruised to victory, completing the triathlon in one hour, 55 minutes and 57 seconds.
Having competed in each Love City Triathlon except for one, Harper is no stranger to the race and her experience proved useful as she crossed the finish line in one hour 59 minutes and nine seconds. Harper placed second in the swim, and first in both the bike and run portions of the race.
Hosted by the St. John Landsharks, the island’s sole triathlon and aquathon event was back this year after not being hosted last year. With strong support from British Virgin Islands and St. Croix triathletes, the race will surely be on again next year, explained Landsharks president Jude Woodcock.
“I was really pleased with the race and especially happy that the weather was nice and the roads were dry,” said Woodcock. “The race went so well, we’re thinking of hosting the second annual 13th annual Love City Triathlon and Aquathon next year. We’ll definitely be back.”
While hoping to attract more female triathletes, Woodcock was thrilled to welcome a teenage St. Thomas participant in this year’s field.
“It was super special that Lukata Samuel came out and took part in the race and he did really well,” said Woodcock. “I met him at the first Sunrise Rotary Club-sponsored children’s triathlon two years ago and he also took part in the clinic and this year’s children’s triathlon.”
Too old now to compete in the children’s race, Samuel, with support from his mother, brother and aunt who all traveled to St. John along with the athlete, was ready to take on the adult competition.
“He’s very active and he really wants to learn,” said Woodcock. “He’s so motivating and inspiring and we’re hoping to be able to help him attend more events in the future like the upcoming Wall to Wall triathlon on St. Croix.”
Wining athletes took home beautiful awards created by Maho Bay Glassworks and wood mounted by Peter Alter. During the awards ceremony at Maho Bay following the race, the St. John Landsharks honored St. John resident and athlete Christine Chapman, who is battling cancer, with the Bill Gladfelter Award.
Named after a St. Croix athlete who continued competing in local races while battling cancer, to which he eventually succumbed, the award is given each year to an athlete who embodies Gladfelter’s determination, Woodcock explained.
“We gave the award to Chris this year because despite all the struggles she has had with her health, she just keeps coming back,” said Woodcock.
While celebrating the event’s success, Woodcock is determined to locate a woman athlete for a specific purpose, she added.
“The hunt is on for a woman to take on Teresa Harper,” said Woodcock.
For more information about the St. John Landsharks and the annual Love City Triathlon and Aquathon check out www.stjohnlandsharks.com.