Friday, April 1, 2016

UVI Celebrates 54th Charter with 15th Annual Queen Mary Walk/Run

Annual Event Launches University Pride Celebration …
A few dozen walkers and runners, including past winners, repeat participants, students, faculty, staff and UVI alumni got up before sunrise on Friday, March 18, a work-day, to celebrate the founding of the University of the Virgin Islands and the 15th year of the UVI/Queen Mary 5K Walk Run.

The annual event, which is hosted by UVI and organized by the Virgin Islands Pace Runners, was held as part of the University’s first official event of its 13 day University Pride celebration.

Juan Robles decided early in the week to make it special and ran an unofficial race record of 15 minutes, 33 seconds on the point-to-point course that is slightly uphill.  So did Bridget Klein who broke her personal record of 20 minutes, 14 seconds, was the first overall female finisher, was the third overall winner with 19 minutes, 37 seconds, and now has the unofficial female race record.

Billy Bohlke, a former race winner, took second place with a time of 18 minutes, 55 seconds; Randall Nielsen was the third place male in 20 minutes, 30 seconds; Mike Klein, St. Croix Scenic Mile Champion was fourth in 21 minutes, 26 seconds and UVI student Alfredo Guerro was fifth in 21 minutes, 51 seconds.

Bridget Klein, track and cross-country coach at Good Hope/Country Day School, broke her 2014 unofficial race record with a first place finish for females and third overall with a time of 19 minutes, 37 seconds. Rachel Conhoff, of St. Croix Track Club/Good Hope Country Day, was second in 21 minutes, 51 seconds; Mikaela Smith, St. Croix Track Club/St. Croix Educational Complex High School, was third in 22 minutes, 14 seconds; Amy Roberts was fourth in 22 minutes, 15 seconds and Elizabeth LaBelle UVI student was fifth in 22 minutes, 55 seconds.

Michelle Elliot, UVI business services supervisor, welcomed the finishers, a mix of local and visiting runners and walkers who for some reason, likes the challenge of the start on a work-day, in the dark. 

The walk/run was the idea of co-founder Jenifer Jackson, former chancellor of UVI on St. Croix. 

“The reason I picked the time and day was to make a special effort to get the public’s attention,” said Jackson, who was recognized at the annual award breakfast held following the event.  Wallace Williams, co-founder, said the Virgin Islands Pace Runners got its start at UVI back in 1978 with the UVI Cooperative Extension 4-H Program on the University’s St. Croix Campus in the exact spot for the finish line and awards presentation area for the UVI/Queen Mary 5K.

He said, “those who ran then, still do”, including Dr. Alan Lewit, UVI professor of Computer Science, who wrote the first computer program for results for V.I. Pace. Dr. Lewit was present on Friday. He thanked the University and the runners for maintaining the long relationship with the V.I. Pace Runners.

Special Category Awards include:
·         UVI Male Student: 1st Alfredo Guerro
·         UVI Female Student: 1st  Marcia Tuckett
·         UVI Alum: Male 1st Dexter Hypolyte
·         UVI Alum Female: 1st Hedda Finch-Simpson
·         UVI Male Staff: 1st Anthony Laurent;
·         UVI Female Staff: 1st Elizabeth Labelle
·         UVI Male Faculty: 1st Bernard Castillo;
·         UVI Female Faculty: 1st Valerie Combie
·         Community Member: 1st Randall Nielsen;
·         Community Member Female: 1st Rachel Conhoff

Click here for results of the 5K race.