Acker aims for Stroke high five

The hugely popular Stroke and Stride series is approaching and although it is in peak holiday time, it will get a sizeable turnout as athletes return from their summer breaks and prepare for the big sporting events at the end of the year. 

Stroke and Stride is a three-part charity fundraiser held every August with the start and finish at Sunset House on South Church Street.  

It attracts a wide range of abilities, from those who just want to get out and have some fun through to seasoned athletes.  

The first race is on Aug. 6 and is a 400-meter swim followed by a two-mile run. The second, on Aug. 13, is a 600m swim and another two-mile run. The last won is on Aug. 20 consisting of a 800m swim and again a two mile run. Races start at 5.45 p.m but that is to be confirmed nearer the date.  

Last year, there was a record number of participants, with 142 individuals and 28 teams taking part.  

Overall victories went to Marius Acker, Jody McFarland and Team Tassie’s Michael O’Connor and Shaun Green.  

It was organized by the Cayman Islands Triathlon Association. 

Acker has won it four times so far. He said that the distances make it within reach of novice athletes and it is a great introduction to multi-sport events.  

“The mass swim start is great practice for triathletes planning to race later in the season,” Acker said. “There is a big group of local triathletes, including Gill Comins, preparing for a half Ironman in Miami beginning of October and this race will help them simulate race starts.” 

Acker particularly likes this event because they are his two strongest triathlon disciplines.  

If Matthew Courtis enters this year, Acker sees him as his biggest threat. “If Matthew is there, I anticipate a tight finish in the series,” he said. Courtis is competing in all three before returning to study at Oxford University in England.  

Acker hopes to be here to defend his triathlon title in October and run the Cayman half marathon again in December. 

“My application for residency was submitted in April and I do not want to plan off island races too far ahead,” he said. “I love this island and its people and I am hopeful that I will be able to have the privilege of becoming a permanent resident.” 

He added, “Flashy Nation athletes are making big strides in improving their swimming discipline under coach William Balderamos and I expect them to show improvement and surprise some of the regulars.” 

He added that the women’s race will be interesting with Jody McFarland defending her title and Andrea Roach likely to challenge again. 

Marius-Acker

Marius Acker has dominated the Stroke and Stride in recent years.

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