POSTED: 11/9/12 12:29 PM

St. Maarten – With just two days to go before the start of the 25th Around The Island Relay, there is a buzz among the participants from the 50 teams and by simply doing the mathematics, it will be approximately 500 athletes in this year’s event.

While the course remains the same, the St Maarten Road Runners, the proud organizers of the event has made two changes this year. Number one, only females will run in the first leg of the race. (Raoul Illidge Sports Complex – Paper Garden), a little over one mile.

However, after several hundred feet on a flat surface, the ladies will be faced with two steep accents and descents on Link One before meeting the transition point. The second exchange will take place in Sucker Garden after a little more than two miles.

The runners on stage three will be facing the first true test of the relay when they climb Mount William Hill to hand over the batons. Stage four is expected to have some of the more tactical participants, because seconds after receiving the batons, they will race downhill and if they are not cautious, they can injure themselves.

But after reaching the flats in Dutch Quarter, it will be smooth running towards the exchange point in French Quarter outside the Cultural Center. Between the point and the next change over below Paradise Lookout (entrance to Orient Bay), the participants will have a series of hills to climb and that includes Poulet De Orleans.

It will also be an uphill start for the runners at the entrance of Orient Bay and when they finally get back to the flats, they will not be able to rest until the hand over the batons at the entrance to the Airport in Grand Case.

Again, another flat piece of the course which will end outside the Fire Station in La Samana and then it will be the most challenging section of the relay as the participants in that leg ascend Rambaud, the longest climb on the course and longest leg.

The next exchange point will be outside the stadium in Marigot and the penultimate stage will end outside Burger King. From there, the runners in the anchor leg will have between themselves Cole Bay Hill, down AJC Brouwers Road, into Welgelegen Road and concluding at the point where it all started.

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