Verace Sponsors Nine JESS Students in 8 Tuff Miles


Nine 8 Tuff Miles runners from JESS proudly display their medals with teacher Lecia Richmond.

In an effort to create a more positive image of Virgin Islands youth, nine Julius E. Sprauve School ninth graders completed the 8 Tuff Miles road race on Saturday morning, February 24.

The teenagers, who are all students in Lecia Richmond’s health class, approached their teacher with the idea, Richmond explained.

“The students came up with the idea to discredit the bad press young people get,” she said. “We were doing a unit on health promotion, and they signed  health behavior contracts. In these contracts, they said they wanted to present themselves in the 8 Tuff Miles race.”

Richmond contacted race director Peter Alter, who put the teacher in touch with Verace owner Luigi Costello.

Positive Message
“I told Mr. Alter that our students wanted to show everyone on the island St. John youths doing positive things and presenting a positive message,” said Richmond. “Luigi paid all our fees, set us up and got us going. Some of my students finished in the top 50, and some in the top 70.”

The students all had unique reasons for wanting to run the race, they explained.

“I made a resolution to do it,” said Willis Fahie Jr. “It felt kind of good when I finished.”

One student ran the race last year, and hopes to continue running in 8 Tuff Miles each year, she explained.

“It’s a tradition, because I did it last year,” said Rochelle Moses, who finished with a time of 2:36:29. “I’m trying to put myself in a position to do it every year. It felt good.”

Powell Fastest Student
Student Danella Joseph needed some convincing to run the race, she said, but ended up enjoying the event.

“I had a lot of fun,” said Joseph. “I’d do it again.”

Although student Jonté Samuel did not meet his goal of 1:20:00, he was still happy with his performance, he explained.

“I ran it two years before, and this year, my goal was 1:20,” said Samuel. “I finished in 1:25, and I learned there were certain things I could have done better.”

The group’s fastest student, J’Moi Powell, was happy with his performance, he explained.

“It was fun, and I thought I would place well,” said Powell. “I finished in 1:17:00. I’m happy with my time.”

The students wrote thank you notes to Costello for sponsoring their entry into the race.