Hello everyone and happy Wednesday! We’ve made it to the middle of the week! We have some pretty cool “news” to share with you all today. One of our residents is set to do something very special this weekend, something only 50,000 people in the entire world have the opportunity to do each year.
When many of us are waking up Sunday morning, Brenda Baxter-Simpson will be at the starting line of the New York City Marathon, the largest marathon in the world. How exciting is that?! And even cooler, she is being sponsored by the NYPD Running Club, who will be running in honor of Police Officer Brian Mulkeen who was sadly killed in the line of duty last month.
Brenda has lived on St. John for the past seven years and has run the island’s annual 8 Tuff Miles road race 10 times. You can often see Brenda running the hills across the island or the streets of Cruz Bay. I was super surprised one day when I saw her running up the extremely steep section of Centerline Road just past Princess Bay out on the East End. I drove past and said hello … in my Jeep. 🙂 Those hills are crazy out there!
Getting a spot in the NYC Marathon isn’t easy. You have to be one of the world’s elite runners, win a lottery spot or be sponsored by one of the race’s charity partners. Brenda received her spot thanks to a friend who owns a vacation rental here on St. John. Mike (who asked that we not use his last name) is a retired lieutenant commander detective of the New York City Police Department. He is also friends with a high ranking police official in the NYPD Running Club.
“I was telling him about 8 Tuff Miles and then I mentioned Brenda and her nutty running habit of running up Jacob’s Ladder in the middle of the day,” Mike said. “He thought it would be great to have her on board and invited her to join as a special guest.”
(Jacob’s Ladder is the steep hill between the E&C gas station and the Westin.)
“I’m so excited,” Brenda told me the other day. “It’s going to be incredible! The thought of 50,000 runners and 2 million spectators is a little overwhelming… But I’m ready!”
Brenda has been following a training plan that includes running and time at a gym in Florida, she said. She started by running four to five mile stretches here on St. John, but then had to head north to St. Augustine where she could continue her training by running 16, 18 and 20 mile stretches. She is often joined by her boyfriend Wayne Campbell (the original owner of Barefoot Cowboy) and their dog Teddy.
“Wayne and Teddy drove and met me at various miles on all runs six miles or more with water and e-gels, so I wouldn’t pass out in the summer heat,” Brenda said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to get that training in, particularly the long runs.”
This will be Brenda’s first marathon and she admits to being a bit nervous, however we know she’s going to do an amazing job! We will keep you all posted on her progress.