Travers held on for tight finish

Pam Travers was the fastest local woman to finish in the Cayman Triathlon on Sunday in a thrilling race ahead of Caroline Cahill.

(American Ashley Naelon was the first woman, but she is a world class triathlete who only came here for a brisk work-out.)

It was cut and thrust all the way in the Olympic event at Public Beach. The Olympic course was 1500 metres swim, 40km bike and 10k run. Travers was way ahead in the swim, extended her lead over Cahill in the bike but was expected to be caught by the more accomplished runner on the final stage.

Travers actually hung on and won in 2 hours 30 minutes and 57 seconds, with Cahill finishing on 2:32.32.

A relieved Travers said: “I thought Caroline was going to catch me on the bike first, so I really tried to push hard to see how long I could hold her off. I was fully expecting her to pass me then on the run as she is a much faster runner. When I saw her at the turnaround point I thought I had no hope but I just kept going as fast as I could until the end.”

Travers, 29, a Brit, although originally from Zimbabwe, managed to train a lot more this year. The fact that she competed in the Ironman 70.3 in Miami at the end of October helped. “It was just a matter of staying focused after the Ironman 70.3 and keeping the momentum up knowing that the Cayman Triathlon was just around the corner.

“It was more satisfying than last year when I came second to Julie-Anne Pearson. I was just happy to have taken off about eight minutes of my time from last year, so it was a huge personal best. I honestly never thought I would be able to come in ahead of Caroline, as she is the better athlete, I guess I just had a good day.”

There’s no time to put her feet up until after Sunday’s Cayman Marathon. “I plan on doing the full marathon. This, of course, won’t be a race for me, it’s just a matter of completing it. This will be my second marathon and I’m really looking forward 
to it.”

Travers, a recruitment co-ordinator, has had a great year. “I’ve certainly learnt how dedicated you need to be to do three disciplines and to work hard at the ones that don’t come naturally. Being so new to triathlon I couldn’t have asked for a better year.

“My ambitions for 2011 are that I would like to do a full Ironman, but I haven’t decided where or when and of course I will still be taking part in many of the competitions, fun runs, cycling and swimming events that Cayman has to offer – so watch this space.”

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