St. Croix’s Klein dominates inaugural 50km Tortola Torture

St. Croix's Bridget Klein about to lay down the benchmark time of 5 hours, 25 minutes and 59 seconds, as she completes the inaugural 50km Ultra Marathon, Tortola Torture on Saturday

St. Croix’s Bridget Klein about to lay down the benchmark time of 5 hours, 25 minutes and 59 seconds, as she completes the inaugural 50km Ultra Marathon, Tortola Torture on Saturday

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

After overtaking Virgin Gorda’s Kathleen Brownsdon, then her counterpart Curwin Andrews on the hill out of Cane Garden Bay, St. Croix’s Bridget Klein led a women’s sweep of the top spots in Saturday’s inaugural 50km Tortola Torture—a punishing 50km hilly race covering more than half of the island.

Andrews burned through the first half of the race in 2 hours in 15 minutes, then paid the price. He was passed by Brownsdon then Klein who overhauled Brownsdon and went on to win by 17 minutes in 5 hours, 25 minutes and 59 seconds—leading three women as the first individual finishers. Brownsdon was second in 5:43.30 and Klein’s St. Croix counterpart Pam Terry placed third in 5:57.33—the only three finishers under 6:00 hours.

Tom Cripps was the first male finisher in 6:02.43 and was followed by Jacques Roux in second in 6:11.21. Andrews placed third in 6:13.37.

“It was a tough course and the first third is really flat and shady and it was shady for part of the next third, but there are some steep hills there in the middle,” Klein noted. “It’s not so much the up—because you can only go so fast up—but the downs are super steep so you can’t really let it out as you come down. However, it was a lot of fun. There was awesome support our there, beside the aid stations, there were people in cars offering water and Gatorade, it was a super nice race.”

Klein, who has covered the 50km distance twice before said when you get into a 50km or 50 miles race it’s a tough race because you are out there for a long time and don’t know how you body will respond. “I learnt my lesson in the first race and went out conservative at the start today,” she said. “Road wises, heat wise, it was very tough. If we didn’t have the support today, it would have been unbelievable. I felt like I kept my head in the game today, which is part of long distance running, because your are going to feel good and bad and you are going to have to fight through all of it.”

With not much training in the last month after hurting her foot, Brownsdon was surprised to find herself leading the race early on. “I didn’t know if I was even going to make so I was very surprised to be in the lead and I’m thrilled to finish second,” she said. “This was tougher than childbirth and I’ve done it twice. In

Virgin Gorda we have some hills—but nothing like on Tortola—it’s insane. It was one of the best runs I’ve ever done—but also the hardest.”

Cripps was most surprised to be the first male finisher. “I’m just a poncho. I didn’t come here to win this thing and it looked like some people knew what they were doing at the start line,” Cripps noted. “What can I say? I had a good run. But, it’s super tough. There’s a lot of elevation gain and a lot of elevation lost. Your quads and your gluteus and all that get smashed and the heat today was just brutal. To be honest, I just tried to run within myself, never let myself get warm, keep myself cool at all times—that was my strategy and I guess it paid off.”

Early leader Andrews knew he was not good on the hills so took the race out and tried to maintain a lead. “It worked well, but when I started heading for the last 13 miles, the legs decided I can’t carry you,” he explained. “But being an old veteran, I decided not to give up. I walked some and I finished.”

Race director Richard Morgan, who was eight among the men in 7:36.39, said it was harder than he thought it would be. “I knew there was going to be heat and hills and the heat was more than I thought it would be, but it’s fabulous—a real challenge,” he stated. “To see the first woman come home 37 minutes before the first man is phenomenal. It was a really, really good effort by everybody.”

The relay team of Anna Kinkead, Mike Killoury and Julius Farley, were first across the line in 5:08.33.

Final results; Women: 1. Bridget Klein, St. Croix, 5 hours, 25 minutes and 59 seconds. 2. Kathleen Brownsdon, 5:43.30. 3. Pam Terry, St. Croix, 5:57.38. 4. Jenny McIvor, 6:06.18. 5. Becky Roulette, 6:11.21. 6. NiMade Oniasih, 6:51.32. 7. Casey McNutt, 7:22.52. 8. Richie Paul, 8:03.39. 9. Philomena Robertson, 8:48.07. Dnf; Chantelle White and Julie Reynolds.

Men: 1. Tom Cripps, 6:02.43. 2. Jacques Roux, 6:11.21. 3. Curwin Andrews, 6:13.37. 4. Mike Klein, St. Croix, 6:14.33. 5. Simon Cook, 6:28.06. 7. Ray Wearmouth, 6:58.49. 8. Russell Crumpler, 7:06.12. 8. Richard Morgan, 7:36.39. 9. Ravi Sukhu, 7:56.27. 10. Gary Salter, 8:27.44. 11. John Redmon, 8:28.23. 12. Ken Krys, 10:26.38. 12. Andrew Blackburn, 12:31.51. 13. Andrew Gilliland, 12:31.51. Dnf, Howard Moore and Dan Wise.

Teams: 2 Man: 1. Kerry Dos Santos, Rod Dos Santos, 6:06.56. 2. Yummy Mummies, Gillian Plaxton, Jessica Santos, 7:42.56.

Three Person teams: 1. Demon Deacons, BVI. Anna Kinkead, Mike Killoury, Julius Farley, 5:08.33. 2. Dream(ish) Team: Katrina Crumpler, Ben Mays, Maria Mays, 5:11.19. 3. Rose Between 2 Thorns: Rosmond Johnson, Lisa Adamson, Emma Holmes, 5:44.52. 4. Snails Through Treacle: Kate Henderson, Paul Hubbard, Jude Holmes, 6:15.12. 5. Adam’s Angels, Candy Wilks, Judy Haycraft, Adam Hodlt, 6:19.04. 6. Waaler Ferrari: Sharon Waaler, Claudia Ferrari, Cameron Waaler, 6:22.04. 7. Tortola Tortoises: Ghislaine Hoogendjik, Shane Donovan, Sarah Graham, 6:62.26. 8. Tek Dat #2: Henry Creque, Marvin Flax, Guy-Paul Dubois, 7:39.48. 9. Tek Dat #1: Christopher Smith, Patlian Johnson, Barbara Smith, 8:26.23.

Corporate Cup: Conyers Dill & Pearman: 1. Patrick Ormand, Tameka Davis, Anton Goldstein, 5:36.22. 2. Tricor Tigers, Gareth Watkins, Lisa Birdson, Claire Burke, 6:23.26. 3. Deloitte Dashers: Tia Beckman, Tash Rusheinski, Aurelie Legangneux, 6:41.40. O’Neal Webster: Marianne Cave, Luke Plummer, 7:12.05.