8 Tuff Miles road race four weeks away

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Runners from Egypt to California have registered for the 13th annual St. John Gatorade 8 Tuff Miles road race. Last year’s race drew 800 registrants from 38 states, ranging in age from five to 71.

Race founder and organizer Peter Alter organized the first race in  1997, after he ran the Cruz bay to Coral Bay route in an hour and 10 minutes.  It starts at sea level and rises as high as 1,000 feet along the hilly Centerline Road.

“Both surprised and pleased,” Alter said he proposed the idea of a formal island race event as part of the St. John Action Committee’s efforts to draw more day trippers from St. Thomas. “Most of the people at the meeting seriously thought I was crazy to suggest the idea but there were people there that saw the idea had potential,” Alter said.

Now the race is internationally known, supported by many sponsors , and has inspired a line of clothing.  Buy some.  Race fees and product sales go to fund scholarships.

Some of the hundreds of locals who will run this year have been tuning up in training races.

This year’s 8 Tuff Miles (actually its 8.375 miles) is set to start at 7:15 a.m., Saturday Feb. 28.

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