Reis Sets New “Tough” Standard with Record-breaking Win in Road Race; Six-time champion and St. John resident Jeremy Zuber Takes Third Place

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Chris Reis, above, won the 15th Annual 8 Tuff Miles road race on Saturday, February 26, setting a new course record of 46 minutes. Ruth Ann David, below, was the first female finisher at 57 minutes and 39 seconds.

There is new standard for “tough” on St. John.

Chris Reis of Cincinnati, Ohio, was the first of 881 runners to cross the finish line on Saturday morning, February 26, in the 15th annual 8 Tuff Miles Road Race.

In winning the grueling cross-island race, Reis, 29, not only held off six-time champion Jeremy Zuber, but shattered the course record by 26 seconds. Reis finished the race in 46 minutes flat, running a pace of five-and-a-half-minute miles.

It was only the second time Reis lined up behind the V.I. National Park Visitors’ Center to traverse St. John along Centerline Road, climbing to 999 feet before heading down to the finish line at the Coral Bay ball field. Last year, Reis finished second behind Indiana resident Thomas Chorny, who did not run this year.

Reis was a member of a running group from the Ohio and Kentucky area which took part in the race called the “Cincy-Tucky All-Stars.” The team sported red Cincy-Tucky All-Stars shirts and numbered 12 competitors, all of whom put up impressive finishes.

Court Lilly, a fellow Cincy-Tucky All-Star, took second place overall with a time of 49 minutes and 45 seconds. Love City’s Zuber came in third with a time of 50 minutes and 48 seconds. Zuber had not run in 8 Tuff Miles since 2009 when he set the course record at that time of 49 minutes and 35 seconds.

On the women’s side, St. Thomas resident Ruth Ann David, 37, crossed the finish line first in a time of 57 minutes and 39 seconds, well ahead of second place women finisher Dusich Letitia. The 30-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado, finished in one hour, two minutes and 11 seconds. The third place female finisher was Delene Jewett, of Seattle, Washington, with a time of one hour, three minute and 27 seconds.

St. John resident Jeremy Zuber, above, finishes third overall. Evan Jones of St. John, below, won his age group and finished 27th overall.

Gifft Hill School student Evan Jones continued to dominate his age group, finishing in one hour, two minutes and 13 seconds, almost 12 minutes ahead of the second place 12 and Under runner. Jones, 11, finished 27th overall with a pace of 7 minutes and 26 second miles.

Alison Bartsch of St. Thomas was the first female under 12 finisher with a time of one hour, 34 minutes and  one second.

The 15th installment of the popular island road race included competitors of all ages, from a couple who pushed their infant son along the route to 82-year-old Velma Pullen, who finished the race in two hours, 35 minutes and six seconds.

Cupid even plucked his arrow at the 8 Tuff Miles this year. After crossing the finish line in one hour, 37 minutes and 15 seconds, St. Thomas resident Genevieve Ryan was surprised when her boyfriend Hooman Pedram got down on one knee. Ryan said “Yes” in front of a crowd of cheering on-lookers in the Coral Bay ball field.

Race director Peter Alter, who launched the race after quitting smoking 16 years ago, finished in one hour, 14 minutes and 12 seconds. Alter hosted an awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon in the Mongoose Junction parking lot, handing out Maho Bay Glassworks medals to the top three finishers in each age group.

Now it’s time to get ready for the 16th Annual 8 Tuff Miles Road Race, set for 7:15 a.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2011. For more details and a complete list of results visit www.8tuffmiles.com.