It’s that time of the year when the streets and waters of Cayman are teeming with swimmers, runners and cyclists getting ready for the two biggest sporting events of the year.
First it’s the annual triathlon on 29 November and then the Cayman Marathon a week later.
The Cayman Islands Triathon sponsored by Scott’s Equipment, is approaching when all the months of huffing and puffing in the water, on bikes and pounding the roads will be over.
Scott’s Equipment are the triathlon’s main sponsors and that’s mainly down to the enthusiasm of Paula Scott, a competitor, who loves the arduous sport so much, financial assistance of $10,000 was a heart-felt contribution.
‘Yes, it is a lot of money but because of me participating in running and cycling, I just love doing it. And thought it was worthwile,’ she said at the first triathlon build up on Sunday at Public Beach.
‘So I approached my husband, Stanley. And his brothers Anthony, Arnie and Alburns.
‘For us it’s great for the community and all the athletes here are really happy.’
Along with Paula, the Scott team comprises of swimmer Sean and runner Suzette.
They will be doing the Olympic distance of 1500 metres swim, 20 kilometre bike and 10k run. There is an option for individuals and teams to do the sprint distance which is half that.
Paula has been doing team triathlons for a couple of years. She prefers not to swim but loves the running and cycling.
‘The team tri is great because if you like one sport but not the others this is a good way to partake in it.’
Paula admits she had to twist Sean and Suzette’s arms to commit. Sean got roped in because he had completed the Flowers annual one mile swim.
‘I asked him what was his time and when he told me that it was much quicker than what I did he got hired!
‘My sister said she wanted to get her running miles up so I said: ‘You’re hired too’.’
The Scotts were thrilled that there were 67 entrants in Sunday’s build up race, a significant increase on previous years. It was a gentle introduction with a 400m swim, 10k cycle and 2.5k run.
‘This is very encouraging because there will be a lot more for the two other build ups as they get ready for the event on 29 November.’
Suzette said: ‘It was good today. A short run, obviously, but it was hot, really, really hot. Not a good time to be running in the morning.
‘At least at the end of November it will be a lot cooler. I’m looking forward to it. It’s my first one. It’s nice seeing all these people out, first thing in the morning looking their fittest and I’m happy to be a part of it.’
Race director Kate Alexander has taken over from Polly Cox and she wants this event to go as well as Cox used to run it.
‘Polly left the island and the triathlon board approached me and I’d been doing a lot of organising with swimming in Cayman for a number of years so I thought this would be a fitting challenge for me.
‘I used to be a triathlete but can’t train for three sports anymore, it’s just too much.’
Larry Walters, president of the triathlon association, predicts this year could see a record turnout of 150 participants. Is that too optimistic?
‘I don’t think so,’ said Alexander. ‘I’ve been seeing a lot of press around the world saying that people in economic depressions are looking more at their health and doing more recreational activities, spending their money that way because it’s relatively inexpensive.
‘The turnout this morning is shocking. We were not expecting so many. This is the largest ever first build up race.
‘If this is an indication it will be a big boost for the full triathlon. The appreciation goes way beyond the financial commitment Scott’s Equipment has made.
‘They are so enthusiastic and for them to step up and help us out with this triathlon on short notice and in a tough economic year is one thing, but the people at Scott’s are so wonderful.
‘Some of them are competing today and will be competing in our main event. They are putting so much into it, it’s more than just a sponsorship, it’s a big relationship and friendship and we’re just thrilled to be able to take the main event triathlon to what it needs to be with their help and support.’
This year there will be no celebrity pro coming from abroad because Walters wants to push local participation more than anything else. It is definitely working.
- The next build up triathlon is on Sunday 1 November. For more information, go to www.tricayman.com