Running in Paradise

“When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings. Hugging with mindfulness and concentration can bring reconciliation, healing, understanding, and much happiness.” – Nhat HanhIMG_5404

Lace up for a run or a hike on St. John and you can be assured one thing–you will climb. Truth is that it’s a challenge to find a level half-mile on the island, but don’t let that deter you, the views are worth the work.

Early one morning I left my buddy’s villa and set out for a run through Cruz Bay and Chocolate Hole. Here I open a door for you to visit the tropical Caribbean paradise:


Climb a hill through Chocolate Hole where people name their homes along streets with signs that make you smile.


Tropical flora at every turn, spellbinding colors wherever you look, heavenly fragrances with every breath … IMG_5449


80 year old man walking two dogs.

80-year-old man walking two dogs.

After reaching the crest overlooking the Caribbean, I started down the steep side of the hill and came upon a gentleman who looked easily to be in his 80s walking  two dogs.

He greeted me sounding chipper enough to stop me in my tracks. He smiled and in a British accent said, “Lovely morning.”

I agreed, and we went on to talk about the vitality of his aging dogs, and the need to keep moving. “That’s the trick,” he said, “Keep moving, body and mind. Not one without the other.”

IMG_5398St. John is enchanting from land and sea, whether in running shoes, a kayak, paddle board, or a Jeep. One afternoon I paddled into the cove and wove in and out of sailboats with names like Island Time and Chill that had sailed to St. John from Boston and North Carolina and St. Thomas.IMG_5435

IMG_5387We rented a Jeep Wrangler and toured from one end of the island to the other–Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, on over to Coral Bay and Hurricane Hole, to the end of Route 10 just past Haulover Bay. Along the way we encountered wildlife–donkeys, sheep, iguana, chameleon, and tropical birds galore–cuckoo, heron, hummingbird, egret, oystercatcher, warbler, pelicans dove into crystalline waters for dinner.

IMG_5444Back at Cruz Bay with running shoes laced, I stood at the top of a hill, panned across crystal blue Caribbean waters, St. Thomas in the distance, a rock-strewn dirt road below. I took a deep breath, extended my arms, Dave Matthews “Old Dirt Hill” lyrics echoing giddily in my mind, and I let go, “Screaming down that old dirt hill.” I sailed down, Caribbean breeze through matted hair patting my shoulders, sweat dripping through my beard and onto my chest, “First time without my training wheels,” and then the road skimmed the bay, my feet glided one in front of the other, “The first time I kissed you I lost my legs,” the road began to rise into the next winding, switchback hill, “Bring that beat back to me again.” Another challenge, another climb to the top.

FREEDOM! St. John Emancipation Commemorating 150 Years 1848-1998
St. John Emancipation
Commemorating 150 Years




About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in Health, Marathon, Running and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Running in Paradise

  1. Love the door! and the fun street signs too.


  2. Sophie33 says:

    What beautiful georgous views! Waw! The plants & flowers all look so glorious!


  3. Hey Jim – I am vacationing in Boston this summer. Any Boston Rite to Run articles out there?


  4. LB says:

    What a post, what a trip, what a run!
    You must have just been loving every single moment.
    The street signs are wonderful and those steps down to the Caribean will give you a physical work out and an emotional lift!


  5. runner500 says:

    I was expecting a post like this as I noticed a couple of ‘likes’ from you coincident with ‘views’ from the U.S. Virgin Islands (I think), so I assumed you had been travelling. Looks fantastic!


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