Acker’s versatility seals it

It was business as usual at the
Genesis Trust Cayman Islands Duathlon over the weekend as top triathletes
dominated the event.

A large field took to the start
line, including 66 individual competitors, 22 two-person teams and two
three-person teams for a total of 116 participants.

The event started with a two mile
run, followed by a 12 mile cycle and concluded with another two mile run.

Good all rounders tend to dominate
the event, although the stronger runners tend to have better finishing
positions than the strong cyclists, with the teams usually taking line honours.

As soon as the field set off on the
first run, an elite group of runners formed at the front, including all the
contenders for overall glory as well as the top team runners.

However, the group was slowly
whittled down until it contained a very select few, including defending
champion Gabe Rabess, pre-race favourite Marius Acker and top team runner
Russell Coleman. During the last stretch of the run, Acker managed to distance
Rabess and the rest of the group and entered transition first, followed by
Coleman who handed over to team cyclist Marius Deysel.

The next runner in was another
individual competitor, Eduardo Torres, followed by team runner Ray Welds, who
handed over to cyclist Laurent Weber. Next in was David Shibli who handed over
to cyclist Steve Abbott, followed by Rabess and junior runner Tristan von
Kirchenheim who handed over to cyclist Michael Testori.

The first lady into transition was
Marlene West, well clear of Caroline Cahill and Kristin Siuduk, with Gill
Comins in fourth and Pam Travers in fifth.

Once the competitors moved out onto
the bike leg, things started to change quickly as the stronger cyclists scythed
through the field.

Among the teams, Abbott managed to
catch Deysel and Weber to send his runner into the second run with a healthy
lead. Jerome Ameline also did well to move into fourth on the road for his
team, while Testori held on to a good position for the junior team.

Acker retained his lead in the
individual competition on the bike leg, although behind him things changed
dramatically. TJ Olivier had a blazing bike leg to move up into second position
after lying just inside the top 10 after the first run, with Michael Stomps
moving up into third from an even worse first run effort.

This left Rabess in fourth, closely
followed by Tom Stephens. The big loser on the bike was Torres, who slipped out
of contention against the stronger cyclists.

In the women’s race, Siuduk moved
into the lead, with Comins moving into second while Cahill slipped back into
third. West did not have a good day on the bike and lost a lot of time to her
rivals, effectively taking her out of the running for a podium finish unless she
could produce an amazing final run effort.

On the final run, Shibli put in a
good effort to hold onto the lead passed on to him by team cyclist Abbott,
coming home in first. He was followed by Coleman, who had caught and passed
Welds, who had to settle for third. Carl Grant also put in a great run for the
junior team, taking fourth across the line.

Among the individual competitors,
Acker seemed to be under no pressure at all as he cruised home to regain a
title he has won before. He was followed by Stephens, who had caught and passed
2010 champion Rabess who finished third.

Olivier and Stomps, the two fastest
individual competitors on the bike, slipped back to fourth and fifth
respectively. Although Olivier just missed out on the podium, he was definitely
the surprise finisher of the day, showing signs of the form that made him one
of the top local triathletes some five years ago.

Among the women, Siuduk never
seemed to be in any trouble as she came home well clear of second place
finisher Cahill. Comins had a strong second run to finish in third, just holding
off a charging West, who had to settle for fourth, followed by Travers in

Organised by the Cayman Islands
Triathlon Association, this was the first multisport event of the year, with
other events planned, including the popular Stroke and Stride series and Cayman
Islands Triathlon later
in the year.