Cayman’s multisport athletes will be tested for the first time this summer when the Ogier Stroke and Stride series kicks off on Wednesday 10 August.
The first event in the series of three will comprise a 400 metre swim and a two mile run and, will see some of Cayman’s top multisport athletes, swimmers and runners take up the challenge. The second event on 17 August will see the swim stretch out to 600 metres, while the run will remain at two miles, with the third and final event featuring an 800 metre swim and a two mile run.
Heading the pack will be multiple Stroke and Stride champion Marius Acker, whose blazing fast running and excellent swimming has helped him to numerous titles through the years, including the Cayman Islands Triathlon and the Cayman Islands Half Marathon as well as the Stroke and Stride series. In the 2010 series, Acker finished an uncharacteristic third after missing one of the three events. However, he did win the two events he took part in, with Scott Brittain, the eventual series winner, finishing as runner up both times and winning the second event in the series in Acker’s absence. However, Brittain has since left Cayman and will not be taking part in the series.
Even though Acker enters the series as the clear favourite, he is certain to be challenged by some of the other top triathletes on Island, many of whom are coming off recent competitions overseas. One of these athletes, Johan Heath, may well prove to be Acker’s biggest challenger. With a very good swim, Heath is likely to be ever more competitive as the series progresses, as the distance of the swim increases over the three events in the series. His running has also improved greatly, as demonstrated by his excellent finish in Ironman Switzerland recently. However, he will have to hold off Acker during the run, which will be a tough challenge.
Dean Gaffigan could also be a legitimate challenger as his swimming has also improved recently and he is good runner.
Among the women, the competition is likely to be quite tough again, with Pam Travers and Caroline Cahill likely to renew their friendly rivalry. Cahill won the series last year on the back of some excellent running. However, Travers is the better swimmer and will be looking to capitalise on the training she put in for Ironman Switzerland.
With many of the past contenders no longer on Island, this year could also see a couple of newcomers step up and challenge for a podium position.
The series also features a team competition and with top runners and swimmers set to team up, it is quite possible that the top teams may finish ahead of the first individual competitors.
According to the organisers, there will be no race day registration this year, with online registration encouraged. The entry fee for individuals is US$15 per race, or US$30 for all three and for team entry, US$25 per race or US$50 for all three, if entering online.
There will be one offline entry opportunity, at Sunset House on Tuesday 9 August between 5.30pm and 7pm, but the entry fees will be in CI$ for the offline entry instead of US$, making the online entry cheaper.
Each of the events will start at 5.45pm from Sunset House.
Online entry for each of the three races will close at 7pm the Tuesday evening before the race, with entries for the next edition reopening the following day.
There will also be numerous prizes, most of which will be random spot prizes for participants. The prize lists include two US$400 vouchers to any Cayman Airways destination, two World Gym memberships of three months and six months respectively, a catamaran sunset cruise for two with Red Sail, a champagne brunch for two at the Westin, four $50 vouchers from the Da Vinci Centre and six $50 vouchers from Divers Supply/Sports Supply.
Event sponsor Ogier will be donating funds collected through the event to the SOS Children’s Villages Basse in Gambia, Africa. According to Ogier’s International Relief Committee, the beneficiary organisation takes care of children who come from impoverished families or those who have dealt with dissolved traditional family structures, which leave many of these children to fend for themselves.
For more information on the Stroke and Stride series, visit triathlon.ky