After all of Cayman had a shot at glory in the recent Turtle Triathlon, it was the turn of the younger generation to prove their mettle in the Caykids Try-athlon on Sunday 30 November.
With some 140 competitors taking up the challenge and representing their schools the course was packed with eager athletes, while the sidewalks were equally packed with enthusiastic parents out to support their offspring’s athletic endeavours.
‘We are pleased with the tremendous turnout. It was great to see kids out Sunday morning being active, working together and having fun,’ says race organiser Darcy Simcoe.
The athletes took part in one of two categories with students from seven to ten years of age scheduled to complete a 100m swim, followed by a 3km bike and a 500m run. Athletes in the 11 to 14 age group were scheduled to complete a 200m swim, a 6km bike and a 1km run.
Unfortunately the weather was not fully cooperative and rough surf conditions caused the swim to the cancelled and replaced with a short beach sprint in order to ensure the safety of the participants.
‘It was a bit disappointing the water conditions were not favourable, but the kids enjoyed the barefoot beach dash,’ says race organiser Jody Danter.
From the beach dash it was on to the bikes, with a dazzling variety of bikes zooming around the course – from racing bikes to bmx bikes and a couple with colourful streamers and baskets.
‘Safety was a very important consideration and cycling helmets were in evidence everywhere. Members of the Cayman Islands Cycling Association also cycled around the course with the participants in order to see to it that everyone could enjoy their ride in safety.
At the conclusion of the bike course, participants parked their bicycles and faced up to the final run.
With tired legs the transition from cycling to running was harder than many had expected, but the competitors soon got into their stride.
Although the event was non competitive in nature, one would never have guessed based on the number of personal battles being fought in the finishing straight.
Whenever two competitors entered the final couple of metres together it would result in a flat-out sprint with every sprint winner celebrating as though they had claimed the overall win.
Yet regardless of who finished first or last, every finisher received a medal, a t-shirt, pizza and a chance to win one of a large selection of random prizes donated by sponsors including Cost-U-Less, Cox Lumber, Books ‘n Books, Dairy Queen, Divers Supply/Sports Supply, Hollywood Theaters, Burger King, Papa John’s and three private instructors who donated instruction sessions for swimming, running and tennis.
Members of the Cayman Islands Triathlon Association turned out in force to marshal the race, as did the RCIPS to see to it that everyone remained safe out on the course.
‘At this time of year, we appreciate the police ensuring the safety of our children,’ says Danter.
For anyone who doubted the true nature of the event, one father related how he had waited for his son to turn up at the finish.
As time passed, he became concerned that something might have happened out on the run, so he took a walk down the run course to see whether his son was OK. Lo and behold, he found him standing at the water table, drinking water and chatting to the volunteers without any inclination to race. After all, he was out there to have fun.
The event had multiple aims, with the promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle forming only one part of it.
Increased community awareness was also of great importance to the organisers and therefore each participant was asked to bring a gift or non-perishable food item in lieu of an entry fee, to be distributed among those less fortunate.
‘I am grateful for the generosity of our students. Caykids collected three large boxes of gifts and food items to donate to Child and Family Services,’ says Danter.
With the excellent turnout, the future of growth of triathlon in Cayman seems to be assured.