Cruise to Runners at start point in last year's race. Photos courtesy of Photogenesis.
Its that time again! Tomorrow, Wednesday, 26th January, Princess Cruise Lines'Caribbean Princess will dock in St. John's harbour. Amongst the thousands of passengers on board, approximately 180 runners will be coming off the ship to run in the annual "Cruise to Run", an initiative of Jerry and Jody Friesen, a Canadian couple who are professional runners. Each runner is expected to bring at least one book to be donated to the National Library. Librarian Ryllis Mannix will be on hand to receive the books.
Organizers in Antigua and Barbuda -- the Hurricane Power Athletics Club, with its Sponsor Subway and Official Partners, the Antigua Pier Group, TheAntigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, and the Ministry of Tourism, will be on hand at the Heritage Quay Pier at 7:00am to welcome the runners. After a brief presentation in front of Subway (on Redcliffe Street), the runners will move along Market Street to the Perry Bay Road outside the Multi-Purpose Centre at about 7:30am for the start of the run. Motorists please note that Redcliffe Street between Corn Alley and Market Street will be closed to traffic from 7-8am to accommodate the runners. A police outrider will lead the runners along a course that will take them through the streets of St. John's and the Grace Green Community, past the Green Bay School, through the village of Five Islands, through to the Royal Antiguan, and ending at Fort Barrington. Minister Chandler Codrington who wanted to participate last year but was off island, will be joining the run this time around. Pedestians, motorists and schoolchildren are encouraged to greet the runners and cheer them on as they make their way through the streets of Antigua and Barbuda.
Friesen chats with runners at Subway Stop near Fort Barrington
This is the third year that Cruise to Runis being held in Antigua and Barbuda. The event gives runners from as far away as England, Canada, Bermuda and the United States, the unique opportunity to not only participate in the sport they love, but at the same time, allows them to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of the destination. It is the ultimate runner's vacation, and these are serious runners who would otherwise spend much of their time on the shop on treadmills or the runners' track! In addition to Antigua and Barbuda, other destinations on the ship's Cruise to Runitinerary include San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Dominica and Barbados.
Race Director, Jerry Friesen has been a race director for over 20 years and has been involved in organizing more than one hundred races. He is currently the Series Director for the Subaru Niagara Running Series. Friesen’s athletic background dates back to his youth when he competed in track and field, cross-country running, football and boxing. A former Canadian National Boxing Team member, he has been running for over 30 years in more than 350 races and a few triathlons, and completing over seventy marathons including Boston, New York and Chicago. His personal bests include a 2:44:10 marathon, a 34:20 -10k and a 16:38- 5k.
Starting at noon, the Cruise to Run group will then be hosted by the Antigua Hash House Harriers. This is the fifth year now that the group will be treated to a hash of the most picturesque parts of the island. They will push off from Ffryes beach before ascending the surrounding hills to take in the stunning views of the Southwest Coast and the Turquoise Caribbean Sea, then running along some of Antigua's best beaches. The group will then enjoy a little "down time" socializing with hash members around a bar and BBQ. The hash is open to all, so anyone wishing to join the walk and run with the Hash House Harriers, are most welcome.