A chapter of St. Croix history is coming to a close. This Sunday, May 7, 2017, the island will host its final Ironman 70.3 Triathlon, which offers 35 qualifying slots for the Ironman World Championships in Tennessee. This marks the 29th year St. Croix has hosted the event, which unlike other Ironman races, is managed completely by volunteers.
GoToStCroix.com writers recently interviewed Tom Guthrie, race director on St. Croix, to find out why the tradition is ending. In short, the world championship qualifying slots for the St. Croix event have been reallocated to other races. When St. Croix started hosting the race in 1988 it was one of only 10 Ironman triathlons worldwide. In 2017, the number of races is up to 200. So as the number of race options has grown astronomically, the number of participants in St. Croix’s event has steadily declined. Costly travel expenses to the island’s remote location have been a deterrent to triathletes as well. Read GoToStCroix.com’s full interview summary here. Ironman’s official announcement about this being the final year for the St. Croix event can be found here.
So while the news this year will be the last for St. Croix’s Ironman, it’s possible the annual tradition will continue without the Ironman brand. The Virgin Islands Triathlon Federation is a thriving group of active athletes in the island community who successfully host races year-round. The Virgin Islands Pace Runners have hosted a color run for children for 19 years the Friday of Ironman weekend to kick things off, a tradition sure to continue. What has historically been the Ironman Jump-Up, hosted by the Christiansted Retail and Restaurant Association, may retain the May date to coincide with the end of tourism season. There have been tireless efforts to pick-up trash along the race route prior to the event by groups like Clean-Up St. Croix, and in years past, Crucian Litter Elimination Act Now (CLEAN), an extension of the St. Croix Environmental Association. Hopefully a joint effort by all of the groups traditionally involved can keep this annual tradition going.
Register for this Sunday’s historic 2017 St. Croix Ironman 70.3 Triathlon here (sprint and relay team options available).
If you’re visiting St. Croix for this year’s Ironman or have in years past, you know just how beautiful this island really is. If you’re ready to own a vacation home on St. Croix or St. Thomas, contact Chris and Kerri Hanley, the authorities on Virgin Islands Real Estate. Download their free STX Event Guide to get the scoop on the best annual events to attend on your real estate scouting trips: