Fournier Wins Virgin Gorda Half Marathon Battle After Reeling In Stoby


Photo courtesy of Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

By BVI Athletics Association

For a moment during Saturday’s 5th Virgin Gorda Half Marathon, Vincent Fournier thought he’d given home turf advantage to Tortola resident Ruben Stoby, who opened a sizeable gap.

“The way this started out, I didn’t think I was going to win it,” said Fournier who covered the 13.1 mile hilly course in 1 hour 35 minutes and 24 seconds, with Stoby another 35 seconds back. “We were head to head then in those hills (going to Nail Bay) he took a big head start and I told myself, ‘alright Vincent, if you follow that pace, you’re going to die in the middle of the race’ so I decided to try and do my own race and, try to catch up when it was flat again. But, he was so far ahead that I didn’t think I’d catch up.”

Fournier said that eventually near the Coppermine Road on the southern end of the island he noticed he was making an inroad into Stoby’s lead, which gave him a big boost.

“Eventually I caught up to him, we ran together until Top of the Baths and I was like alright, I live on this island its time for me to give all I got for the rest and defend home turf and I’m proud,” he said. “Even if I’ve only been here for six months.”

Stoby said it was a good cat and mouse race and after seizing the lead, he thought Fournier had fallen off the pace for good.

“I think the mistake I made was not to try to push it from there and I just continued and allowed him to catch me,” Stoby explained, noting he was surprised to see Fournier in Copper Mine. “When I turned around, I saw him right there and for a runner, that can be psychologically challenging. We ran together for a little while, then he made a move just before the turnaround at the Baths and I failed to cover that. But, I’m not too disappointed because he’s a good athlete. I wanted to win, but nevertheless, it’s my second, second. I remember El Garrough (Hachim). He tried for the Olympic gold three times and he was expected to win and he didn’t.  Just like that, I’m going to come back and hopefully win in on the third try.”

Maria Mays, sixth overall was the first woman crossing the line in 1:52.16 and said she was surprised to win after having a bug earlier in the week and she expected to feel awful. “But after the first mile, I didn’t,” she said. “I really wasn’t on form and I thought I wasn’t going to do it then I decided to go out, have fun and and enjoy it. I felt much stronger than I thought I’d be.”

Frequent visitor Ryan Blanchard of Richmond Va., who’s getting married on Virgin Gorda this week, ran the race with his fiancé Andrea Sorlie.

“It was a little hotter than last year I really liked the over cast last year,” he said. “It’s a great race. You can’t beat the views. Whenever your legs start hurting, you just look out-doesn’t take the pain away-but it takes your mind off it.”

He’d hope to finish in under two hours and did 2:13.10 and his fiancé, 2:35.46. “I ran it all last year but I walked up the big hills this time because I knew where they were,” he said.

Native Virgin Gordian Kilen Smith said she had been running two mile races and decided to tackle the 6 Mile Challenge as she’d never run that far before. “It was good,” she said.  After finishing in 1:18.03, before going to play with the Virgin Gorda Eagles in the BVI Volleyball Association championship game.  “I thought it would have been a bit tougher, but for the first time, I think I did good.”

Top Half Marathon Finishers. Men: 1. Vincent Fournier, 1 hour 35 minutes and 24 seconds. 2 Rebuen Stoby, 1:35.59. 3. Guy Williamson, 1:44.49. 4. Jacques Roux, 1:48.08. 5. Rodrigo dos Santos, 1:51.56.Women: Maria Mays, 1:52.16. 2. Melissa Brunner, 2:00.17. 3. Rebecca Paul, 2:01.32. 3. Kim Tackeuchi, 2:10.24. 4. Claudia Ferrari, 2:10.35.5. Mellisende Rowe, 2:12.20.

Stoby, Mays tune up for Virgin Gorda Half Marathon with victories

By BVI Athletics Association

Runners take off on the second half of the Virgin Gorda Half Marathon course during Saturday's Dive BVI 10K series finale, which was a tune up for the event. Photo: Todd VanSickle

Runners take off on the second half of the Virgin Gorda Half Marathon course during Saturday’s Dive BVI 10K series finale, which was a tune up for the event. Photo: Todd VanSickle

Reuben Stoby and Maria Mays were the top male and female finishers in the Dive BVI 10k Series finale of May 1- the final tune up for the 5th annual Virgin Gorda Half Marathon and Six Miles Challenge which will take place on May 14.

Stoby led the field that included 18 participants from Tortola out of the 38 on the second segment of the course in the Valley. Running along the route with vistas of the historic Copper Mine and the world renowned Baths and scenic views of the outer islands, St. John and Tortola, Stoby finished in 41 minutes and 53 seconds. Mays, the top woman covered the course in 47:41.

“I think my time is pretty decent,” said Stoby who had Guy Williamson breathing down his neck last year when he ran 40:19 and Williamson, 40:59. “But, I’m happy with the time ahead of the Half Marathon.”

Stoby who ran 46:14 over the first half of the course – including the first six miles up to Nail Bay two weeks ago – said both races were important in his preparations for the May 14 race.

“Definitely, to re-familiarize yourself with the course as I did last year as well, but, thanks to the 5k series as well, that has been helping me to get in shape as well,” he noted. “But, it hasn’t been anything too special leading up to the Half Marathon.”

Mays said that in the first tune up on April 11, she was looking at it as preparation for the Tortola Torture and not the Virgin Gorda Half Marathon and six Miles Challenge. “That was the big scary thing in the way that I couldn’t see past, but this race today, like Reuben said, it was great to see the course again,” she said. “It’s just fantastic coming to Virgin Gorda. It’s three or so weeks between them (Tortola Torture and Virgin Gorda Half Marathon) so this race was really important to keep on the game.”

With so many races on Tortola and Virgin Gorda to choose from, staying healthy is everyone’s goal. Stoby, however, runs in all of them. “I know when to push and when not to, but, it’s wonderful just to be running and keeping fit all the time,” he pointed out.

Mays on the other hand, described herself as ‘pathetic’ and not really competitive. “I wish I was, but, I always just think ‘I’ll do it and see how I do’ and then 3/4s  of the way, ‘maybe I can do this’, so I’m trying to find that little element. I think Reuben’s got it.”

Final results:

Male: Reuben Stoby, 41 minutes and 53 seconds. 2.  Julius Farley, 43:28. 3.  Curwin Andrews, 48:47. 4. Brian Davis, 50:21. 5. Adrian Dale, 51:32. 6.  Zebalon McClean, 52:35. 7.  Ishwar Persaud, 52:59. 8. Gabriel Obregon, 55 :05. 9. Marlon Felix, 55:29. 10.  Gus Faller, 56:41. 11. Patrick Ormond, 56:47. 12. Mahinda Ratnayake, 58:24. 13. Dennis Versoza, 59:53. 14.   Aaron Gardner, 1:00.11. 15. Damien Parry, 1:02.31. 16. Teejay Torres, 1:05.37.  17. Andy Miller,  1:13.55. 18. Dan Starling, 1:17.59.

Female: 1. Maria Mays, 47:41. 2. Melissa Brunner, 51:40. 3. Kim Takeuchi, 54:11. 4. Katleen Brownsdon, 55:02. 5. Rosmond Johnson, 55:05. 6. Katie Goodwin, 56:41. 7.  Josie Ratnayake, 58:24. 8. Becca Knight, 58:45. 9. Kay Reddy, 1:00.10. 10. Lucy Smith, 1:01.18. 11. Lindsay Fogarty, 1:05:01. 12. Sara Mc 1:06.34. 13. Gretel Honis, 1:13:55. 14. Tara Murphy, 1:14.34. 15.  Nedy Ador, 1:14.42. 16. Clair Burke, 1:14.44. 17. Angie Bester, 1:17.59. 19. Chris Yates, 1:29.44.

DNF: Emily Drinkwater & Brendan O’Reilly.

Hindes dominant in Virgin Gorda Half Marathon defense


Caption: St. John’s Timothy “TJ” Hindes takes out the field in Saturday’s Virgin Gorda Half Marathon en route to improving his own course record with a time of 1 hour 32 minutes and 05 seconds Photo: Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

St. John’s Timothy “TJ” Hindes takes out the field in Saturday’s Virgin Gorda Half Marathon en route to improving his own course record with a time of 1 hour 32 minutes and 05 seconds Photo: Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

St. John’s Timothy “TJ” Hindes sprinted away from the pack at the start—using the same strategy he employed last year—then went on to become the first repeat winner in the four year history of the grueling Virgin Gorda Half Marathon, improving his own course record in the process.

Hindes set off on a punishing pace up to Nail Bay with Reuben Stoby his only serious pursuer in tow, returned then circled The Valley including historic Coppermine and the Baths to win in 1 hour 32 minutes and 05 seconds improving on the 1:32.34 mark from last year. Stoby was six minutes back in 1:38.23.

“It was great and hard, a lot like last year—stuck with the plan—run in the front in the beginning and stay there,” said Hindes who expected Stoby’s challenge. “I just wanted to get ahead of him soon as I could so hopefully he’d give up when I was passing him on the way down from Nail Bay. That was the plan—put enough space in front of him so he didn’t think he could catch me.”

Hindes who uses St. John’s 8 Tuff Miles course for his training said his strength is running the hills and with the second half of the course being flatter, he was a little worried about Stoby catching him there. “I just tried to hang on and not walk up to Nail Bay, because it’s a tough climb,” he noted. “The challenge is not walking and staying ahead of everybody, trying to climb those hills and put the gap between second place. I improved my time from last year so I can’t be upset with that.”

Stoby said he was putting his bag in the truck when the race started and it threw him off his race plan. “Hindes starts very quickly so it was difficult trying to catch him and hold him, so eventually, I just had to settle for second,” he said, noting that excruciating could hardly describe chasing Hindes up to Nail Bay. “It’s one of the toughest courses for sure. Anybody who wants to torture themselves this is the place to come.”

Race director Casey McNutt said Hindes is a force to reckon with. “If he continues to come, anybody who wants to consider challenging him will have to step up with a big game—a really big game,” she said. “It’s always anyone’s race when you show up in the morning and anyone can have a great day or a bad day, but, that kind of athleticism is rare. To finish this course in 1:32 is shockingly impressive.”

Like Hindes, Katrina Crumpler defended her women’s title. Crumpler—between Marathons after a personal best of 3 hours 22 minutes and 53 seconds in Boston last month and ahead of the May 24 Buffalo Marathon—chopped five minutes off last year’s mark finishing in 1:47.35.

“I love this race. It’s challenging, hilly and it was a lot easier than last year although it’s not an easy race,” Crumpler noted, adding that there was a real competition among them this year. “The lady that came second (Beth Simmons), I would overtake her on the hills and she would sprint past me on the downhill. I would catch her on the next hill, so we were playing cat and mouse all through the hills. It’s really only in the second half of the course I went ahead of her—she pushed me the whole way through the second half.”

Simmons described the race as a ‘butt kicker for sure.’ “It’s one of the hardest races I’ve run but it’s beautiful. The support was amazing, the crowds fabulous,” the Southern California native noted as she prepares for a Half Marathon in Mammoth. “The winner is a strong runner. I think the heat and the humidity just took its toll.”

Final Results

Men: 1. Timothy “TJ” Hindes 1 hour, 32 and 05 seconds, (New course record. Old record, Hindes, 1:32.34, 2014) .2. Reuben Stoby, 1:38.23. 3. Julius Farley, 1:41.01. 4. Rodrigo DosSantos, 1:42.23. 5. Chris Thomas, 1:46.35. 6. Paul Hubbard, 1:48:14. 7. Curwin Andrews, 1:50:10. 8. Ezron Simmons, 1:58.59. 9. Russell Crumpler, 1:59.26. 10. Allan Cundall, 1:59.29. 11. Richard Morgan, 2:00.21. 12. Ryan Blanchard, 2:02.33. 13. Ciaran O’Shaughnessy, 2:04.26. 13. Joseph McIvor, 2:06.49. 14. Marco Bava, 2:06.53. 15. Damien Lysiak, 2:07.14. 16. Gareth Watkins, 2:08.29. 17. Adrian Dale, 2:08.49. 18. Keith Williams, 2:09.16. 19. Kenton Jones, 2:13.20. 20. Shane Donovan, 2:15.01. 21. Guy Paul Dubois, 2:16.41. 22. Michael Reiter, 2:17.46. 23. Christie Brown. 2:19.07. 24. Jermain Abreams, 2:19.24. 25. Joshua Rossiter, 2:22.58. 26. Alex Smith, 2:28.06. 27. Keith Regan, 2:32.18, 28. Arun Keshap, 2:33.51, 29. Ruairi Bourke, 2:36.38. 31. Scott Butz, 2:46.15. 32. Zoltan Birinyi, 3:14:33.

Women: 1. Katrina Crumpler, 1:47.37. (New record. Old Record, Crumpler, 1:52.55, 2014). 2. Beth Simmons, 1:49.36. 3. Jenny McIvor, 1:53.36. 4. Kathleen Brownsdon, 1:56.10. 5. Rosmond Johnson, 1:59.37. 6. Serena Krueger, 2:00.21. 7. Caitlin Goodwin, 2:04.36. 8. Kay Reddy, 2:08.02. 9. Nadine Leslie, 2:09.03. 10. Anna Kinkead, 2:16.04. 11. Jessica Miles, 2:17.42. 12. Kerry Ann DosSantos, 2:22.10. 13. Philomena Robertson, 2:28.17. 14. Rhiannon Davies, 2:29.43. 15. Amoi Foerstel, 2:30.41. 16. Alexandrea DeJarnett, 2:30.44. 17. Sarah Hayes, 2:32.43. 18. Andrea Sorlie, 2:36.54. 19. AJ Syrett, 2:42.43. 20. Natasha Lysiak, 2:45.25. 21. Becca Knight, 2:46.22. 22. Ann Marie Rivard, 2:49.43. 23. Brianne Leary, 2:49.44. 24. Jude Holmes, 2:53.10, 25. Jill Farley, 3:02:13.

6 Mile Challenge

Men: 1. Jacob Reed Stolzenfels, 49:02. 2. Kyle Vestermarks, 53:58. 3. Adam D’Monte, 54:07. 4. Erik Remar, 54:32. 5. Lewis Munn, 1:04.23. 6. Merwin Rodriguez, 1:04.26. 7. James Morrin, 1:04.35. 8. Ethan Lysiak, 1:06.03. 9. Steve Biery, 1:07.53. 10. Noah Fox, 1:09.19. 11. Chris Fraser, 1:09.20. 12. Wilbert Samuel, 1:09.21. 13. Adam Holdt, 1:10.08. 14. David Cattie, 1:13.05. 15. Alex Holliday, 1:32:16.

Women: 1. Lindsay Wilson, 58:38. 2. Christine Sheehan,1:00.48. 3. Denell Vestermarks, 1:01.05. 4. Leanne Munn, 1:01.39. 5. Julie Lonski, 1:05.34. 6. Stephanie Wessels, 1:05.46. 7. Clair Burke, 1:05.55. 8. Diane Stolmar, 1:08.23. 9. Jewellyn Gerald, 1:08.35. 10. Kimberly Cole, 1:09.02. 11. Karen Morrison, 1:09.20. 12. Candy Holdt, 1:10.07. 13. Beth Besom, 1:12.15. 14. Abriel Lysiak, 1:18.11. 15. Kirsten Vlietstra, 1:24.49. 16. Audrey Penn, 1:27.01. 17. Chris Yates, 1:29.34.,] 18. Ashley Helb, 1:30.10. 19. Noni Georges, 1:30.44. 20. Charlene Odango, 1:34.49. 21. Rodessa Ordoyo, 1:34.50. 22. JoAnn Manlapaz, 1:34:51. 23. Betty Paradisi, 1:35:58. 24. Lisa Brown, 1:36.09. 25. Kristen Collins, 1:40.27. 26. Chloe King, 1:40.28.