Running on St. Thomas
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My family and I are staying in Sapphire Beach next July for a week and I was just checking to see what you locals thought about being able to run on the roads leading from Sapphire Beach. I never miss a day of running and have heard the main roads aren't the safest for traveling by foot(narrow winding roads with not much of a shoulder). Are there any back roads leading from Sapphire Beach that would be more "runner friendly"? I usually go out for about 8-10 miles so a long loop would be ideal. Are the beaches any good to run on or are they broken-up/spaced apart from each other. Just as a side note, we are not going to rent a car for all (8) days, is it safe enough on the road to walk to Red Hook from Sapphire with my family(youngest is 7 years old)? About how far is it? Thanks in advance for any info. Mike
I see several runners along the Smith Bay Road early AM and late afternoon and I think they go on a route around Sapphire and then go on the road to the old Renaissance Hotel and double back.
I will stress that you'll quickly find that a car is a necessity, especially with your family, Taxis charge per person (there's a link to the rates under "St Thomas" above) and, no, walking to Red Hook from Sapphire is a very bad idea. It's hilly, there are no shoulders on the road, blind corners. Once you get here you'll get the idea!
The only beach which is long enough for running is Magens and that's only a mile long. Most joggers there go early AM and stick to the path adjacent to the beach.
You'll have a wonderful time!
I run at the National Park just past Red Hook. It's almost flat and about 1/2 mile long....so 8 miles means 8 round trips...it's a nice area.
Running (or walking) on Smith Bay Road is a bad idea (IMHO).....too much traffic...blind corners.......no shoulders to speak of.
Do rent a car!!!!!!! A week is a long (& expensive) time to keep taking taxis. For a family of 4......the cost for a taxi (I believe) from Sapphire to Red Hook is $4. per person each way. That means for dinner in Red Hook you'll pay $32. in taxi fare (plus tip). Plus having a car gives you more freedom to explore the island and other beaches. It's also a help when grocery shopping. Hertz gives a discount for AAA members.
Have a good time.
Mike: The National Park road is a great spot- low traffic and flat, except for the speed bumps! There is a good run from Magens out Peterborg. If you go in the morning, you may find other people who can show you. You might also call Caribbean Surf Co in Havensight when you get here and ask if there are any STAR (St Thomas Association of Road Runners) events going on. Lots of folks training right now for the 8 Tough Miles in February, so you may be able to meet up with a training group- safety in numbers, y'know? 😎
My wife and I would do a run/walk every day when we were there. We stayed at Sapphire Village. Our "route" was about 3 miles by the pedometer so I guess you could do it a few times. It was a nice mix and very little traffic. We would start up at the Village, go down the driveway by the office, do Sapphire Marina, then the "point" to the old fuel tanks, along the beach past the pool, out to the point, back along the beach to the end, run behind the set of condos and then around the paths a couple of times that go around the "pond", then back to the beach, by Dive-In and back by the Reception Building, up the hill towards the main road, left at the top to Sapphire Village, first right up the hill, around the parking lots, down the hill and back to our condo. I know it sounds confusing but it was a nice run and you can make your own route. We'd go early in the morning sometimes before they were even cleaning the beach.
Not close to Sapphire but you could drive to these and work it into a plan that works for you and your family...
University/Brewers Bay to Havensight round-trip would give you about 9 miles. Since you'd be driving to get there an idea for doing this with your family would be to drive to Lindberg Bay (also known as Emerald beach), drop your family off to hang out on the beach and leave the car in the resort parking lot. Then run from Emerald to Havensight and then Havensight to Brewers, Brewers to Emerald to meet up with your family (and take a refreshing swim!). This would be largely along sidewalks and the Charlotte Amalie waterfront/apron and it is flat. You can see the route on this google map: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Airport+Rd%2FRte+302&daddr=W+Indies+Dock+Rd+to:Brewers+Bay+Rd%2FRte+30+to:18.336358,-64.963274&geocode=FYbKFwEdSLkg_A%3BFaXCFwEd_Ggh_A%3BFZ7mFwEdk4kg_A%3B&hl=en&mra=dme&mrcr=2&mrsp=3&sz=14&doflg=ptm&sll=18.338965,-64.947481&sspn=0.037395,0.07699&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=18.344831,-64.953833&spn=0.035276,0.07699&z=14.
You could do the same, your family hanging out at Brewers while you run however there are no restrooms, not much natural shade close to the shoreline, limited food/drink options from the roadside food vans... so Emerald is better with kids (restrooms, restaurants, shade, even a playground at the end of the beach).
Another option is Magens Bay, its a popular spot for running & swimming in the morning (around 7:30-8am there are usually a couple dozen people exercising) and afternoon (5-5:30pm, several dozen exercising, running on the road and on the beach, swimming, a few kids riding their bikes and swimming). So your family could hang out on the beach and you could run the beach several times. Or you could run from Magens up past Mahogany Run, Mandahl, Wintberg and back to Magens. No sidewalks but pretty quiet roads, just stick to the side and don't wear an ipod or anything so you can hear what is going on around you on the road. Here is that route: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Mage n's+Bay+Rd%2FRte+35&daddr=Magen's+Bay+Rd%2FRte+35+to:18.355625,-64.899416+to:Rte+394+to:Rte+394+to:Magen's+Bay+Rd%2FRte+35&geocode=FZc2GAEd9V0h_A%3BFeopGAEdOnEh_A%3B%3BFbALGAEd9IAh_A%3BFQASGAEdInkh_A%3BFVQ1GAEdE18h_A&hl=en&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=2&sz=16&via=1,2&doflg=ptm&sll=18.352794,-64.899952&sspn=0.009348,0.019248&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=18.356196,-64.913492&spn=0.017637,0.038495&z=15. While the map indicates 5 miles for the distance with the inclines its definitely a work out. It is not flat, it is a gradual incline, then gradual downhill, uphill, flattish, downhill.
Close to Magens is a place called Udder Delight... great milk shakes; your kids might like that as a stop on the way home from the beach. They have adult milk shakes too... with alcohol.
Also, Sapphire to Red Hook is about .6 miles one way, its uphill out of Sapphire property, downhill, then flattish to Red Hook. No sidewalks, curvy road.
I am coming in March and need to get in a few runs. Where is the National Park Road? We are staying at Point Pleasant but the roads there are crazy to run on.
If I can get 4 or 5 miles in I will be happy. Anything closer to Point Pleasant? Seems like I did a little running one year on the grounds at Sugar Bay Resort.
May try to run at Magens Bay one day.
How far is the National Park Road? I mean how many miles running? Is there a beach close by or somewhere my husband could hang out and wait for me? Would it be dangerous to go alone?
To get to the National Park Road just turn left out of PP and go all the way through Red Hook. At the first left, opposite the high school (Rte 322) you'll see the entrance road and a big sign. Very safe and very lovely but I've not a clue how long a run it is. Your husband could bring (or pick up en route) breakfast and sit out there on the dock and enjoy the morning while you do your thing!
The National Park is nice to run on because it's flat and there's little to no traffic, but it's very short. You'll need to do loops if you want to run any further than a mile. Here's a link to a google map of it so you can visualize (you can run the entire road that says "Vessup Ln" - that is the National Park Rd: https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Vessup+Ln&hl=en&sll=18.337825,-64.953918&sspn=0.032019,0.042529&geocode=FWuYFwEdcnki_A&t=h&mra=mr&z=17
Try Active Island Tours & Events - They have running tours that are longer than the National Park.
Enjoy your trip!