Acker may be pushed this time

The fittest athletes in the Cayman Islands compete in the most taxing of events this weekend.

The Cayman Islands Triathlon, sponsored by KRyS Global, A Step Ahead Physiotherapy, Red Sail Sports and Governors Square starts at 6:45am on Sunday, 4 November, at Seven Mile Public Beach.

Both Sprint – 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike, 3 mile run and Olympic distance – 1500m swim, 40km bike, 6 mile run – are offered. In the men’s division, defending champion Marius Acker will be the man to beat, but he is likely to face a stiff challenge from last year’s runner up Johan Heath, who set a new personal best time for the half Ironman distance this past weekend in Miami.

Although Acker holds the edge in the run, Heath is the stronger cyclist and if he can lead Acker out of the water he could well challenge for the win.

In the absence of defending women’s champion Pam Abbott, who has elected to focus on an upcoming Ironman event instead, the women’s field is wide open. Perennial challenger Gill Comins is one of the favourites, along with newcomer Faye Manthe, with Carol Bell and Donna Harding also challenging.

Additionally, teams of two or three can take on the Olympic race. Athletes will receive a fantastic swag bag, post race meal and amazing random prizes.

If the organisers do not reach their maximum participation numbers beforehand, athletes and teams can register in person from 10am-2pm on Saturday, 3 November, at Stingers Restaurant, behind Comfort Suites hotel, on West Bay Road.

All athletes, whether already registered online, or registering in person (subject to availability) must collect their race packet on Saturday between 10am-2pm at Stingers. There will be no exceptions.

The organisers said that Day Light Saving Time adjustment occurs in the wee hours of Sunday, so people relying on smart phones should ensure to set their alarms accordingly in order to ensure not missing the start of the race.

The events would not happen without the support of the volunteers who work hard behind the scenes to make the event run smoothly. Anyone who cannot race should consider volunteering.

Acker said: “I am happy to get to the start this year, like any other year. This is my second most favoured event in Cayman after the Stroke and Stride.

“I am in good shape and looking forward to the event. I’ve done more bricks in my training (running immediately after a bike training session).

“I did this to improve my running pace when I finish the cycling leg of the race. This is one area where I would be able to gain at least another minute if I want to improve on previous years.

“I have no idea who will be my closest rival. Last year’s runner up (Heath) did a triathlon this past weekend in Miami. I have no idea how quick he will recover for this weekend’s event.

“Winning this event like any other is always special and I will be competing as if I’ve never won this race before. I’ve been averaging 10-14 hours of weekly training over the last five weeks so I expect to be contending for the title.”

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