A group of local triathletes performed well in Jamaica recently. The weekend after the Cayman Islands Triathlon, Johan Heath, Marius Deysel and Henry Streather took part in the Jamaica Triathlon in Montego Bay.
It was a strong representation for Cayman, with Heath having claimed second in the Cayman Triathlon, with Streather finishing sixth and Deysel seventh among the men.
The Jamaica triathlon has drawn strong international competitors in the past and although this year’s edition did not feature the top professional triathletes, there were still some seasoned competitors out there, including top age group competitor Ben Greenfield of the United States, who had recently won his age group in the International Triathlon Union’s Long Course Triathlon World Championships.
After the swim Heath was in second place, 19 seconds behind leader Greenfield and some four minutes ahead of the third placed swimmer. However, Heath had a much faster transition than Greenfield, catapulting him into the lead for the first couple of miles of the bike course before he was overtaken by Greenfield again.
Deysel on the other hand had a much tougher time in the swim, coming home in 12th place, more than 10 minutes down on Heath. However, as a newcomer to triathlon, Deysel has the potential to improve greatly, especially in the swim.
Heath had the second fastest bike split on the day as well, three and a half minutes slower than Greenfield, who seemed intent on opening up a gap going into the run. Deysel had a much better time of it on the bike than in the swim with the fifth best bike time, some five minutes behind Heath. Unfortunately, not all the Cayman athletes had as good a time of it on the bike leg. Streather, who is a very strong cyclist and usually thrives on the bike leg, punctured after a couple of miles, ending his race prematurely.
On the run, Greenfield again set the best time, with Heath setting the third fastest time, some six minutes slower than Greenfield. However Heath’s consistently good performances throughout the event meant that he had enough of a buffer going into the run to hold onto second place behind Greenfield. Deysel produced a solid run to finish sixth overall, an exceptional result for an athlete who only turned to triathlon recently.
Heath was extremely happy with his second place, especially taking into account the challenging run course.
“Of the 10 kilometres of running, approximately 1.5 kilometres was on beach sand and the remaining 8.5 kilometres was on gravel type dirt tracks,” he said.
“To our knowledge, this was the first year that triathletes from the Cayman Islands have travelled to Jamaica to compete there. Going forward it would be great to have triathletes from Jamaica coming over to compete here in the Cayman Islands.”
In spite of his very good finish, the race was not without its more scary moments for Heath. “I got a huge fright about 350 metres out into the swim. I saw a big black object moving around in the corner of my eye, initially thinking it was a shark. No one told us that they were making a documentary of the race so it ended up being a scuba diver taking video and photos from below,” laughed Heath.