The Northwest Company —parent company of Riteway — will bring 75 of the more than 100 visiting runners who will participate in Saturday’s 14th Deloitte-Ogier BVI Sunrise Half Marathon, making it the largest international field in its history.
The Northwest Company participants are expected from Alaska, Canada, Guam, Cayman Islands and Barbados. They will join their Virgin Islands counterparts, all of whom are raising money for various charities in their respective communities. Riteway has allocated $10,000 for the BVI Diabetics Association.
The race is slated for 6 a.m. on Saturday and will consist of two laps starting and ending at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Grounds.
The course will take runners to Sea Cows Bay with a turnaround near Ebenezer Thomas Primary School. The stretch of road from Prospect Reef to the well in Sea Cows Bay will be closed between 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Traffic heading east from Sea Cows Bay, will be diverted over the hill by the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School to the Paul Wattley Road. Traffic from Road Town beyond Prospect Reef will be diverted to the Paul Wattley Road.
Saturday’s 13.1-mile race is expected to be the fastest since the course record of 1 hour 07 minutes and 38 seconds was esset by New Zealand’s Michael Aish in 2010.
For the first time in its history, the VI will have a participant among those contesting the $500 prize.
VI Marathon record holder Ras Alula Nagarit will make his debut and be among those upfront vying for the top spot, including Clif Struiken, Neil Riley and others from among the more than 100 visiting runners. Mr. Nagarit is expected to improve on the BVI Half Marathon record of 1 hour 34 minutes and 45 seconds set by Zebalon McLean in 2011.
New male and female champions will be crowned as defending champions, St. Lucia’s Michael Biscette and St. Martin’s Cecilia Mobuchon, who established the women’s record of 1 hour 25 minutes and 40 seconds in finishing fourth overall in 2018, will not compete in the event.
There will also be a battle among corporate teams, who will try to dethrone Collas Crill for the Corporate Relay Cup and break their record of 1:40.26.’ The relay team of Cate Barbour and Neil Riley, will seek to retain their title and improve on their 1:34.42’ mark set last year.
“This year’s race is shaping up to be a fantastic event,” Race Director Kay Reddy said. “We’ll have a large international field of runners; see the BVI’s very own Ras Alula Nagarit making his debut and the likes of Clif Struiken and Neil Riley who have been dominating the local series, challenging for the top spots. The women’s race is wide open as the defending champion Cecelia Mobuchon from St. Martin won’t be here and St. Thomas’ Ruth Ann David—a four times winner—has another engagement, so we await to see who will take the reins.”