Pam has champ's gritty mentality

When it comes to competing in the annual Cayman Islands Duathlon, even the toughest local triathletes admit that it is harder than the three-discipline event.  

The Genesis Trust 2013 Duathlon two Sundays ago had 103 entrants for the two runs of two miles, sandwiched by a 12-mile cycle, from Grand Harbour and back.  

Pam Abbott retained her title from last year, beating Justine Plenkiewicz and Arwen Lawson. Abbott’s time of 1 hour, 4.02 minutes was almost a minute faster than Plenkiewicz.  

Always cheerful, nevertheless, she has that competitive edge all champions require.  

Like Marius Acker, who retained his male title, Abbott was pleased with victory in the sizzling heat, despite its 7am start time.  

“I found it just as hard as last year,” Abbott said. “I was trying to catch Gill Comins and this year I had Justine chasing me. 

“I wasn’t sure I had won until after I had finished as there was a lady ahead of me in the last run and I couldn’t tell if she was an individual or part of a team.” 

Although Abbott won by a comfortable margin, had she been pushed, the Zimbabwean may not have been able to respond. “I pretty much gave it my all and it took me a while to recover afterwards.” 

The location, excellent organisation by the Triathlon Association and building sense of tradition makes the Duathlon one of the favourite multi-discipline events on the calendar.  

“This was a brilliantly organised event and thanks must go to Paul Drake of Genesis and of course the Triathlon Association,” Abbott said.  

“There were more participants this year compared with years past and I hope the numbers will continue to grow. The event is short enough which makes it achievable for most.” 

Always planning her next event, Abbott is training for the 10K sea swim in June. Involved in many road runs, swims, cycling events and triathlons, she modestly cannot remember the precise number she’s won.  

“I honestly can’t recall exactly. I’ve won the Duathlon twice and the Triathlon once, I think that is it. The Triathlon was the most satisfying.” 

A recruitment executive with SteppingStones, and married to top cyclist Steve Abbott, there is little excuse for not finding a training partner for those leg-sapping rides. She finds it also helps having someone who appreciates the demands of the sport. 

Steve was second with Dave Walker in the Duathlon team event.  

Pam said: “Steve understands what it takes to train and the sacrifices that need to be made and most of all he is always very supportive. I am encouraged and inspired by him on a daily basis. 

“But I wouldn’t say we train together as he doesn’t run or swim, but we will ride together in the mornings, although he will go out again after work to train.  

“It only gets competitive when he trains for more hours a week than I do – although he is probably not aware of that!” 

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