Locals set to Stroke and Stride

One of the most popular multisport events of the year is set to kick off on Wednesday. 

The 2012 Ogier Stroke and Stride series, now in its 14th year, combines open water swimming and road running in challenging yet accessible event. The winner is decided over a three race series, with events taking place on Wednesday 8 August, 15 August and 22 August. 

Participants can take on the full event or team up with one taking on the swim and another taking on the run. 

The swim takes place in the ocean off Sunset House, with the distance increasing every week, from an initial 400 metre swim to 600 metres in week two and 800 metres in the third and final event. The running portion of the event remains at two miles throughout the three events. The race format means that the swim becomes progressively more important as the series draws closer to its conclusion, making it tougher for the pure runners to catch the faster swimmers. 

Over the last couple of years, Marius Acker has dominated the series, taking numerous titles along the way. However, last year he faced a serious challenge from top young swimmers Matthew Courtis and Alex McCallum. However, rough ocean conditions in the final event helped to neutralise the challenge of the swimmers, with Acker’s amazing running helping him to yet another series title. However, with the reigning champion off island for most of the series, a new champion is sure to be crowned at the end of the three races. After their top performances last year, the likes of Courtis and McCallum are sure to be challengers for the title, while Johan Heath, who finished in third place overall last year, will have to fly the flag for the triathletes against the swimmers. Although Heath’s swimming prowess means that he should be able to limit his losses to the swimmers, he does not have Acker’s running speed and will therefore have to exit the water much closer to the top swimmers if he wants any hope of taking the title. 

The women’s division is likely to see the return of defending champion Jacqui Retief, who claimed a clean sweep in the series last year. She was pushed all the way by Pam Abbott, but it is quite possible that Abbott will not be able to mount the same challenge this year due to a running injury that has been troubling her lately. Although this is not likely to slow down her very fast swim, it will certainly blunt her speed om the run leg, if she decides to participate at all. 

The team competition is always hotly contested as top swimmers and top runners team up to beat the overall competitors to the line, with Andrew Smiley and Bill Edwards taking the title in 2011. 

Although the overall title is decided by combining the points scored in all three events, it is not compulsory to take part in all three races and entrants can choose which races they want to take part in. 

According to Nick Rogers, managing partner of Ogier’s said the company is delighted to be the sponsor of the event once again. 

“We hope that many of Cayman’s athletes and athletes at heart will come out and participate in this fun and hugely beneficial race. The proceeds will be donated to the Family Resource Centre for their Young Parenting Programme. I am grateful to all participants from the local community for supporting in past years and look forward to continued support for what has become a high profile event in Cayman’s sporting calendar,” he said. 

Each race will start at 5:45pm, with swimmers being counted into the water for a wet start.  

The entry fee for individuals is $15 per race, or $35 for all three and for team entry, $25 per race or $60 for all three. The minimum age for entry is 13, with all participants under 18 requiring an adult to complete the entry on their behalf. 

 

General registration is available on Tuesday, 7 August from 5.30pm to 7pm at My Bar, Sunset House. Online registration and additional information is also available by visiting www.triathlon.ky  

Stroke stride start

The swimmers churn up the water at the start of the event. – Photos: Eugene Bonthuys

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