Unscientific research seems to suggest that those with surnames early in the alphabet make better duathlon competitors, at least if the results of the Cayman Islands Duathlon can be trusted.
The event on Sunday 25 March was sponsored by Genesis Trust and saw a solid turnout by Cayman’s multi-sport community as they took up the challenge of a two mile run, 12 mile bike and another two mile run just for good measure.
Some, like Governor Duncan Taylor, participated in a team, while others completed all three legs of the event, whether to go for a place on the podium or just to challenge themselves.
The start was fast and furious as the quicker runners tried to open up a cushion on the speedier cyclists before heading out onto the bike course.
David Shibli, running for team British Bulldogs, was the first runner into transition, handing a narrow lead to cyclist Steve Abbott. Derek Larner was second into transition, handing over to cyclist Michael Stomps.
The first individual competition into transition was defending champion Marius Acker, with team runner Tristan von Kirchenheim following hot on his heals, handing over to team cyclist Gary Clarke.
The next individual competitor into transition was Ray Welds, but he wasted valuable time by exiting transition before putting on his helmet, resulting in a fair amount of fumbling as he attempted to put on his helmet while holding his bike upright. This allowed the next individual competitor, Johan Heath, to gain ground on him. Although Heath was potentially the only challenger to Acker for the podium’s top step, he had a 1 minute 7 second deficit to erase after the run.
Tracey Walker was the first runner for an all ladies team to charge into transition, handing over to team cyclist Donna Harding. The first individual ladies’ competitor out of transition was Pam Abbott, with Gill Comins right behind.
Out on the bike course Abbott built on the lead Shibli had given him, storming to the fastest time on the course and coming home in 26 minutes 49 seconds. Although Stomps managed to hang on to second place on the road, he conceded 1:44 to Abbott, leaving Larner with an insurmountable challenge going into the final two mile run. Clarke was third into transition, but conceded almost four minutes to Abbott on the bike, which meant that the team would have to be content with third place.
The first of the individual competitors to enter transition was noted cyclist Jerome Ameline, who had a storming bike leg, recording 28:35, the fastest time among the individual competitors and the third fastest time of the day, just two seconds off Stomps. However, it meant that he would now be acting as a rabbit to the faster runners behind him.
First of the chasers was Welds, who had managed to match Ameline’s pace once he had been passed by the flying Frenchman, with Heath just a couple of seconds behind him. He was followed by Marius Deysel, who was the revelation of the race after a extremely solid first run, with Acker just behind.
Acker managed to pass Deysel in transition and set about hunting down the three athletes who still remained in front of him. However, as he was only some 25 seconds adrift of Ameline and even closer to Welds and Heath, the result seemed rather inevitable as Acker headed off in pursuit.
In the ladies’ race, Comins came into transition having passed Pam Abbott for the lead, with Abbott in second, 25 seconds back and Nicola Stradling roughly two minutes back in third.
As expected, Shibli was the first runner to come into the finishing straight to claim the team title for the British Bulldogs. What was not expected was the time, as the team obliterated the previous course record, storming home in 49:15 becoming the first team ever to break 50 minutes on the course. Larner was second followed by team Fastsigns in third.
First individual competitor was Acker who used his superior running to catch and pass the other competitors and break the tape in 54:46. Heath finished second, less than a minute back, thanks to a balanced overall performance, with Welds finishing third, a mere 13 seconds ahead of Deysel in fourth. Ameline managed to hang on to fifth place even though he had struggled on the second run leg.
In the all ladies team race, Walker’s strong second run secured the title for team Need for Speed.
Pam Abbott was the first woman home in 1:02:25, in spite of having doubted her ability to make it onto the podium before the race. Comins, who had struggled on the second run and forfeited her time gains on the bike, finished in second place, 25 seconds down on Abbott, while Stradling rounded out the podium.