Caribbean Running Cruise

Caribbean Running Cruise

Caribbean Running Cruise

( 1 review )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • San Juan,
    Puerto Rico
  • February
  • 5 miles/8K, 6 miles/10K
  • Trail Race
  • Event Website

Mary Jo Minarich

Illinois, United States
24 18
"The Caribbean Running Cruise"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Mary Jo Minarich's thoughts:

I had to share this with you all about a run or should I say RUNS and cruising. John (the Penguin) Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield host a wonder set of races at different ports during a Caribbean cruise. Now the entire boat is not running. The Caribbean Running Cruise is basically a small group on the ship. And by the end of the cruise you will be known as the runners!

During the 2017 Caribbean Running Cruise, we ran in San Juan, St Croix, St. Maarten, Barbados and Grenada. Yup, we ran 5 5Ks to 4 mile runs! It was a blast. Here’s a recap of each race.

San Juan: We ran the San Juan Friendship Run the day of boarding our ship, the Jewel of the Seas. It was so nice waking up in San Juan. It was a warm morning with a few raindrops at the very start of our race. Then a gorgeous rainbow appeared. The Borinquen Runners Run Club hosted our Friendship 5K Run in San Juan. It was a beautiful out and back course with a water stops and spectacular views. The San Juan police department really kept us safe throughout the race. They were at every corner directing traffic and making sure we stayed on the course. You saw every type of runner on this race. You had the fast runners, the walker and the run/walkers. I could tell they trained run/walking because you could hear the beeps on their timer for each interval. This run was definitely for fun and everyone ran and took pictures.

St. Croix: On the Royal Caribbean ship we met in a lounge big enough for our large group and had breakfast together. Then we all walked off as a group as soon as we docked. Our group was so large that we made up 10% of the ship. And when we were all together we made up a nice size race!

As a runner you could choose a 5K or 10K for every race. We decided to go with the 5Ks since we have not been training in this heat. And it was HOT! I believe it was 80 degrees at every race start all week. But we didn’t care,because we were on vacation!

The St. Croix 5K was a really nice run. The course ran through a small street and then we headed into a rainforest. It was beautiful and the shade made it feel wonderful. The roads were a little challenging and they even joked that it was more of a trail run rather than a street run. But we managed fine and there was a nice water station at the turn-around.

I knew I wouldn’t win the race but before the cruise you fill out a predicted time sheet. The winner closest to their predicted times for all the races wins a yellow hat. I predicted I would run this race in 30.01 minutes. I wanted to make sure I gave myself a comfortable pace for the heat and humidity.
The finish felt wonderful and HOT! John was waiting for all of us to finish the race and we received a bottled water, a new string bag and towel from the Virgin Island Tourist Bureau. We cheered the runners coming in and then headed back to the ship to shower. The rest of the day was spent on a beautiful beach baking in the sun.

St. Maarten: Our day started in St. Maarten with a nice, HOT 5K! We all met and had breakfast together at our usual lounge in the morning. Then we debarked and walked on the pier to the start of the race. I love a race that has palm trees at the start. There was gear check that moved our bags from the pier to the finish line in case you wanted to stay in St. Maarten after the race. This race had some spectacular views and hills!

We did have to run past the finish once and then turn around to get to it. It seemed a little confusing at first but John and Jenny were there giving us directions and then waiting for each of us to finish.
Let me tell you it was hot. But it felt great! I was really loving all the running we have been doing every day in a warm climate. It’s going to be a shocker to get back to running in cold weather again in Illinois.
We were invited to the Chez Delphine for a lovely post run French breakfast after we finished the race. It was all organized for the runners and it was YUMMY!!! I would love passion fruit at every breakfast now…

Then we headed back to the ship to get ready to head out on our excursion. Jenny and John put together three great choices for us to do during the rest of the day:
Afternoon biking
Hanging out at the Orient Beach
We decided to be beach bums and relax on a beautiful beach. So we boarded 3 buses and took a 30 minute drive to the French side of St. Maarten and got to play at a wonderful Orient beach.

Barbados: Ever heard of a Hash Run? This was my first time running one and we did it in Barbados! The run was organized by the Barbados Hash House Harriers. Now a Hash Run is when a runner sets up clues through a specific course to get to the finish. The person who sets it up is a fast runner called the Rabbit.

The Rabbit gets a head-start and sets up the trail with some helpers. If you caught up to the Rabbit he has to buy you a drink at the finish line.Clues are white marks made on the street. And these are made with small piles of flour. When you saw a clue you yelled, “On On.” There are also clues to dead ends. Those are marked with an X. When you see the X you had to turn around and head back and try again from the last clue point.

We had a blast looking for clues and run/walking through Barbados. We saw a huge section of the island as we passed by homes and small businesses. And the people of Barbados were so kind. If they saw us lost they would help us out and point out a clue. The Hash Run took us through 3.5 miles of Barbados. We then finished at the beautiful Copacabana Beach Resort! There we rented a couple of chairs and an umbrella for $20.00. We then enjoyed complimentary drinks and lunch right on the beach. This was all part of the running cruise arrangements.

Grenada: Our last run was the pirate run in Grenada! Yup, 250 grown-up runners dressed like pirates running through Grenada. The morning started with the usual breakfast of eggs, fruit, cereal, bagels and bacon. Now the object of the pirate race was to get to as many stops from a list of places John and Jenny gave to us. You had to be back on the ship within 1 hour and 15 minutes. This included time to get though security. And the farther away the place was, the more points it was worth. So our strategy was to go to the farthest place and work our way back. Little did we know we would be fighting a lot of traffic throughout that whole race. It must have been quite a sight seeing 250 pirates running around. We all ended up on deck 11 in plenty of time where we received our medals and a mimosa.

The Final Note! This was a fantastic cruise. We had perfect weather, a great group of friends and tons of fun in the sun. I look forward to my next running cruise with John and Jenny. I have not been disappointed yet by these 2 wonderful people. Be sure to check out their website! You definitely want to run the world with John and Jenny!!!! If you want a day-by-day recap that includes information about the ship and travel tips, be sure to read my blog at! I believe every runner should try a running cruise. It’s the best way to travel!

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