Ladies this one’s for you! Everyone from seniors to new mom’s pushing strollers and their little one’s inside jogged or walked in the 35th annual Women’s Jogger Jam. Held Sunday January 29, this fun-run took its mark, started and finished at the Wheatley Shopping Center in Estate Thomas, St. Thomas. At the end, it was multi-time winner Ruth Ann David who won the event with a time of 12 minutes, 42 seconds.
“The Women’s Jogger Jam was the brainchild of Dr. Laverne Ragster, former president at the University of the Virgin Islands,” explains Therese Hodge, of the St. Thomas Association of Road Runners (STAR), who organizes the event. “Dr. Ragster wanted to host an activity that was unique for women where they would feel encouraged and comfortable coming out to participate. It was originally held in March in recognition of Women’s History Month. For the majority of our participants, the event is not about competition. Over the years, women and girls have formed a ‘sisterhood’ of sorts in the spirit of camaraderie at the Women’s Jogger Jam.”
Over 200 participated in the event, which benefits the Family Resource Center (FRC). The FRC is a local private non-profit organization that provides counselling and shelter to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition to T-shirts, eco bags and refuelling snacks like bananas, watermelon and cold drinks for finishers, the Fruit Bowl, which has sponsored this event for 34 years, donated an additional $5 to the FRC for every girl and woman who crossed the finish line.
Women pre-registered at The Fruit Bowl during business hours or at the Caribbean Surf Company sports appeal stores in Havensight Mall and Red Hook Shopping Center. Late registration also took place at the event. Registration fees were kept low to encourage participation. Fees were $3 for girls age 18 and younger and $8 for adults prior to the event and $10 for everyone on run day. Proceeds from the registration fee were split between STAR and the Family Resource Center to assist in organizing the event.
“First time participants were encouraged to should show up a little early to participate in ‘group stretching’,” says Marty Goldberg, who with son David, own The Fruit Bowl.
Hodge agrees. “There were fitness experts on site to offer massages, advice and encouragement, and there was music to keep everyone motivated.”
The 2-mile course started at the public bus stop at the corner of the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital, went past the Paragon Building, Fortress Storage, Foothills office building, the Sugar Estate Post Office, and back to the main road. Participants completed this loop twice. The race finished in Wheatley Center in front of The Fruit Bowl.
“Most of our participants either walked or jogged the course. We did have women and girls that challenged themselves by running to better their times from previous years. We recognized the overall winner, as well as the first, second, and third place finisher in 10 age categories ranging from 6 and under to 80 and over,” says Hodge.
For information, call STAR at (340) 775-6373 or The Fruit Bowl (340) 774-8565