Duathlon can be twice as hard

It’s the return of the Cayman Islands duathlon this weekend as competitors run and bike their way around Grand Harbour.

The event, sponsored by Genesis Trust and Corporate Services, is set to for Sunday 27 March and always draws a wide range of competitors, from the big names in local cycling and running circles to those who are participating for fun or even as part of a team.

Organised by the Cayman Islands Triathlon Association, the event will start from Grand Harbour with a two mile run following the quite residential roads behind Grand Harbour, followed by a 12 mile cycle out along the Newlands Bypass to the turnaround point on Hirst Road, back past Grand Harbour to the South Sound Rugby Club for the second turnaround and back to Grand Harbour for a final two mile run.

The event will start at 7am, with participants urged to arrive around 6.15am in order to set up the transition area and attend the race briefing.

The top individual athletes can look to complete the course in under the hour, with the current course record being held by Gabe Rabess at 55:47.

However, Rabess is likely to face a stiff challenge this year as Marius Acker aims to make his return to the event.

Acker, who took a three medal haul in the middle distances at the recent Cayman national track and field championships including gold in the 800 metres has blistering pace on the run and is also no slouch on the bike.

Although a number of the triathletes on Island may well be faster than Acker on the bike, they will struggle to build up enough of a margin to hold off the flying South African on the second run.

He will also be helped by the fact that the athlete who pushed him the most during the triathlon last year, Johan Heath, has been struggling with injury problems, while also facing the disadvantage that his strongest event, the swim, does not form part of the duathlon.

Although some pure runners and cyclists will attempt the individual event, many others will team up to go for the team prize. Some of the teams to watch will be top cyclists

Steve Abbott who has teamed up with runner David Shibli as well as top runner Russell Coleman who has teamed up with cyclist Gary Clarke. Many of these teams will also give the top individual competitors someone to chase out on the roads.

Although the outcome of the ladies’ race is quite open, one certainty is that it will have a new winner, as last year’s champion Julie-Anne Pearson was knocked down by a car while training for the event a couple of weeks ago and is still out of action.

A couple of names to watch will be Caroline Cahill and Gill Comins, who both performed very well in the Cayman Islands Triathlon last year. The event will also see the return of former champion Marlene West.

Although she is still likely to finish well, Pam Travers does not view herself as a contender, as she usually shines on the swim portion of a triathlon and does not fancy the two runs that make up the non cycling portion of a duathlon.

Online entries are available on caymanactive.com, with individual entries at US$20 and team entries at US$35.

Online entries close at noon on Saturday 26 March.

There will be a final opportunity to register for the event at Grand Harbour, outside the Dog House, from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday at CI$20 for individual entrants and CI$35 for teams.

There will be no race day registration for the event.

The organisers require participants to be at least 15 years old on race day.

For more information on the event, visit www.triathlon.ky