Triathletes Gather In St. Croix To Conquer Beauty And The Beast

Challenging course and island splendor attract top athletes to compete

ST. CROIX, , U.S. Virgin Islands, April 10, 2008 – Considered one of the premier destination triathlons in the world, the St. Croix Ironman 70.3 Triathlon will wind through the island’s waters and roadways on May 4, 2008 attracting top amateur and professional athletes to America’s Caribbean. Aptly named “Beauty and the Beast,” the race combines the beauty of the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands with the challenge of an unforgettable course. This year’s event has attracted some of the most highly-respected and admired athletes in the field to participate: Simon Lessing, Craig Alexander, Faris al-Sultan, Mirinda Carfrae and Karen Smyers. Other noteworthy participants include Joanna Zeiger, Nina Kraft, Michael Lavato and Julie Dibbens.

“The growing number of races and triathlons that are scheduled on St. Croix this year is testament to the island’s unique landscape and ideal year-round conditions,” states Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commission of Tourism. “St. Croix is making its mark in the sporting world by offering one of the most beautiful, yet challenging race courses. We hope the athletes and the spectators take advantage of everything the island has to offer during their stay.”

The 19th annual competition kicks off with a 1.24-mile swim around Christiansted Harbor. Next, the competitors begin a demanding 56-mile bike ride that includes sharp turns, twisting roadways and the legendary “Beast”, a 600-foot climb with a 14-18 percent grade. The triathletes complete the race on a 13.1-mile, two-loop foot course. As an affiliate of the Ironman World Championships, the St. Croix Ironman 70.3 Triathlon offers participating athletes a chance to fill 28 qualifying slots in the Hawaii Ironman, as well as 50 Ironman 70.3 World Championship spots.

In the four days leading up to the race, the competing triathletes will participate in organized training events, including swimming in the Christiansted Harbor and practice runs on “The Beast”. On the Friday evening prior to Sunday’s race, the pre-event “Carbo Feast” will take place at various restaurants around the island as part of “Jump Up,” a traditional street fair featuring authentic island entertainment and dining in various local restaurants. Following the races, the Awards Banquet and Beach Bar-B-Que will be held at Divi Carina Bay Resort, the official hotel of the triathlon.

Additional information can be found at stcroixtriathlon.com or by calling (340) 773-4470.

For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, visit usvitourism.vi. When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel – including on-line check-in – making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.