June 5, 2005 — Some of them were running light and fast, others were jogging with a bit of heavy effort; still others were pushing baby carriages or leading dogs on a leash. Regardless, all were smiling.
The 21st annual Women's Coalition Race was Sunday in Christiansted. Although an early count of 400 participants was lower than expected and fewer than last year, everyone appeared to be enjoying the event.
Joel Tutein, supervisor of the V.I. National Park, where the race ended in Christiansted, said, "This is so much better than the triathlon. Those people are so competitive. These people are dancing afterwards." He added, "It is just a pleasure watching them enjoy themselves."
Of the more competitive participants, a young runner named Letitia Dusich was first across the finish line. Sissell Holloway was second, and Theresa Harper was third.
Harper has been a regular competitor in the race and has finished second several years in a row. She laughed when asked about her third-place finish. She said, "My age must be showing."
Susan Cissell, who finished a little further back in the pack, said she was not sure how many of the Women's Coalition runs she has participated in. She thinks it's about 10. "I would have to go home and count my T-shirts to be sure," Cissell said.
Janie Koopman has also run in a number of the Women's Coalition Runs. However, she said this was the first one that she had run in Christiansted. (The race venue traditionally alternates between Christiansted and Frederiksted.) She said, "I run to support the Women's Coalition."
Promoters of the race said it was dedicated to "ending domestic abuse in the Virgin Islands."
The race started at the fort in downtown Christiansted, and the runners went out to Canegata Park, then came back into downtown running up and then back down King Street.
The runners' ages appeared to range from lower elementary school to the elderly. Some couples, besides the half dozen pushing carriages, appeared to be mother-daughter combinations.
And all seemed to agree with the live music that greeted them back at the gazebo in the park: "When you are smiling, the whole world is smiling with you."
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