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In an amazing run that upset the bookies, visiting runner Bree Thorpe from Las Vegas, won this year’s KPMG Tortola Torture (Saturday, April 22) with a storming time of 04:58:26. She set a new female course record by almost 28 minutes and beat race favourite, Vincent Fournier by 37 minutes.

Bree Thorpe after winning 2017 Tortola Torture

“It was a fantastic experience,” said Bree after the race. “I think one of the best ways you can see another country is by running around it. You have to really approach the race like an ultra rather than a road race and really pace yourself at the beginning.

“The course is just the right amount of torture. It leaves you feeling like a badass but you can also have fun at the same time. There are easy parts, it hits you with hard parts in the middle, and then there are spots of respite down the hills. The views take your mind off the fact that you’re racing. You get caught up in how beautiful the location is and you forget that you’re dying as you climb up a massive hill.”

Vincent Fournier, second overall, 2017 KPMG Tortola Torture

Vincent Fournier, second overall, 2017 KPMG Tortola Torture

Mike Klein from St Croix, 2017 Tortola Torture

Mike Klein from St Croix, third place, 2017 Tortola Torture

Mike Klein (5:43:22) was third overall and second male. His wife Bridget Klein, who was literally left holding the baby, witnessed the fall of her record and is champing at the bit to take on Bree next year. Course record holder, Eric Senseman, has also said that he hopes to re-run the KPMG Tortola Torture next year, which would see an epic battle at the front of the pack.

Famed ultra runner Jenn Shelton was on the course to cheer on Bree: “It has the feel of ultra running 15 years ago, when ultra running was a little more real. It has that community feel and the excitement of 15 years ago when I was getting into the race which is really, really cool.”

On the course itself, Jenn said: “You can make this one as difficult as you want to. Obviously the heat is going to be difficult for everyone. The downhills are going to be nasty but it’s a runnable course so you can make it hurt as badly as you want to. You can make it the hardest day of your life or, I think, you can make it pleasant.”

Jenn Shelton

Jenn Shelton

Baby Got Track (Jacques Roux and Rebecca Paull) bested the six other two-person teams with a time of 5:25:15. Three De Hard Way (Julius Farley, Reuben Stoby, Rosmund Johnson) won the three-person team with a time of 04:58:06 and set a new record, shaving 5 minutes and 38 seconds off the previous team record.

Baby Got Track (Rebecca Paull and Jacques Roux)

Baby Got Track (Rebecca Paull and Jacques Roux)

Three De Hard Way (Reuben Stoby, Rosmund Johnson, Julius Farley)

Three De Hard Way (Reuben Stoby, Rosmund Johnson, Julius Farley)

Vincent Fournier won the Tortola Torture Agony Run Cup for best performance by a BVI resident, and the JEEP King Of The Mountain Award for climbing from Stoutt’s Lookout to Sage Mountain in time of 32:44. Bree Thorpe won the Mourant Ozannes Best Second Half Award (16.34 miles) for clocking a time of 02:26:15 from Sage Mountain to Trellis Bay (via Brewer’s Bay).

This year saw 26 individuals, 7 two-person and 15 three-person teams competing.

Four of the individuals were unable to complete the course.  This event marks three DNFs out of three starts for Andrew “Gilly” Gilliland  who has manfully picked up the event’s gauntlet since its inception, but the finishers’ medals have eluded him so far. The KPMG Tortola Torture team is offering him a free entry and a personalized training programme for 2018.

Andrew "Gilly" Gilliland

Andrew “Gilly” Gilliland

The other two DNFs both finished marathon distances. Event sponsor, Russell Crumpler from KPMG, retired after that distance as did Philomena Robinson. This event marked their 10th and 20th marathons respectively.

Eric Senseman, a pro runner with SCOTT, set the new benchmark time of 04:45:05 in last year’s KPMG Tortola Torture. The two-person team record of 05:12:19 set by Guy Williamson and Roddy dos Santos still stands.

Disposable bottles banned

Working to keep Natures Little Secrets beautiful and reduce waste, the event banned disposable bottles on the race course this year. Each competitor was supplied with two reusable, foldable water bottles, and were encouraged to wear personal hydration devices too. In addition to ice and food, each of the six water stops were stocked with 5-gallon coolers of water and electrolyte drinks for refills.  A time penalty of 20 minutes was implemented for any competitor breaching the race rules and using disposable bottles during the race, but the competitors embraced the change and no penalties were issued.  This change resulted in almost 1,000 half litre bottles not being used on the course.  All the water stop coolers and bottles will be reused next year.

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2018 Event

The 2018 event will take place on Saturday, April 14. Registration will open, May 6, 2017.

The KPMG Tortola Torture is a 33.74 mile (54km) race that circumnavigates Tortola with only 22% on the flat, the rest is on hot and humid hills with 12,000 feet of elevation change. The steepest gradient is 33.33%.

The KPMG Tortola Torture is open to individuals, two-person, and three-person relay teams.  

Title sponsor KPMG provides audit, tax and advisory services together with industry insight to help organizations negotiate risks and perform in the dynamic and challenging environments in which they do business.

Mourant Ozannes, platinum sponsor, is a leading offshore law firm, advising on the laws of the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey. It presents the “Best Second Half Award” for the best performance from Sage Mountain to the finish at Trellis Bay.

JEEP presents the “King Of The Mountain Award” from the Stoutt’s Lookout Aid Station to Sage Mountain. The BVI Tourist Board, is the international promotion partner.

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