The ever popular Stroke and Stride series is almost here, sponsored by Ogier and winners’ names are likely to be tweaked this year because by the time it comes about next month some of the top athletes will be gone.
Mike McDonald left for Canada last month, Mark Hogan goes to Canada in a couple of weeks, Tom Stephens and Scott Brittain return to Oz soon and James Ogden goes too. On top of that Wendy Freeman and Colin Wright only have a couple of weeks left and a bunch of others may disappear too.
The Stroke and Stride is a three-series race held every August with the start and finish at Sunset House on South Sound. The event is a charity fundraiser and participants are asked to help raise sponsorship money if possible.
The first face is on 10 August, involving a 400 metre swim followed by a two-mile run. Race two is on 17 August with a 600m and then a two-mile run and the lasts one is an 800m swim, again followed by a two-mile run. They all start at 5.45pm. Category and spot prizes will be presented following the third race.
Anyone can participate in one, two or three of the races, individually or as a team, but if you enter as an individual, you can’t also be part of a team. If you are not participating, there are lots of opportunities for willing volunteers.
Undisputed champion of Stroke and Stride is the evergreen Marius Acker who at 39 is still not slowing down. He has won this event umpteen times and even beats the team winners!
Still bristling with enthusiasm, the champ is ready for all-comers. “This is the best sports event over the summer for sure and I will be defending,” he said. “The Stroke and Stride is my favourite sports event on Island.
“The top order will certainly change with the exodus of top runners. This event favours strong runners due to the short swim. This is the only series of events over the summer. The distances are short and it’s a great introduction to multi-sport racing for novices. This is also the first event for new arrivals on island, so there could be surprises in the top order. The fact that is just before sunset makes it ideal for family and friends to support the event watch the sunset.”
Acker is not sure where his main opposition is coming from. “As far as teams goes I know Beth Schreader and Seiji Groome won’t be teaming up again. They were my closest rivals over the last couple of years. It’s always fun challenging for the overall first spot and racing the teams.”
On the women’s side, South African Jacqui Retief will be challenging for the top spot against seasoned triatletes like Pam Travers who is an excellent Of the men goes, seasoned triathletes like Dean Gaffigan and Johan Heath should be challenging for the top three spots. Gaffigan’s swimming has improved considerably and Heath has improved on his running. He too has just completed Ironman Switzerland and improved his best time by over an hour. Caroline Cahill did Ironman Switzerland despite bruised wrists after a recent bike crash in Bodden Town and had to swim with a cast, Travers had bike problems on the bike course.
For more information, contact [email protected] Individuals: $15 per race or $30 all three. Teams: $25 per race or $50 all three. There is no race day registration. Minimum age on race day is 15. Participants under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.