Marius Acker bids for another victory among local residents in the Cayman Islands Triathlon on Sunday, knowing that his dominance of this event is on borrowed time.
It is at Public Beach from 6:45 a.m., and the winner is usually a visiting pro, but Acker has been king of the locals for almost a decade.
He has seen a new wave of triathletes emerge in the past year – Caymanian youngsters who formed the training group Flashy Nation – and the sport is attracting many more high-level athletes.
The veteran champ said he is in good shape for the race but has not been on a bike as much as he wanted because he has been off island for more than a month, completing a half-marathon in California three weeks ago in a decent time.
As for winning the triathlon again, the 42-year-old South African is upbeat.
“I have a goal time in mind and as long as I can achieve that, I will be happy,” he said. “I race against the clock and if I win it in doing that, that will be a bonus.”
Of the locals, Acker sees David Lim, who placed third last year, as his biggest rival. If Dean Gaffigan races, he will be a contender too.
Acker added that it will be nice to see Marius Deysel in his farewell Cayman Triathlon, as he is leaving the island next week.
“Training with my namesake and compatriot from time to time has been a privilege and I will miss his jokes and encouragement,” Acker said.
He added that watching coach William Balderamos racing his Flashy Nation trainees in his first Olympic distance triathlon will be interesting. With the rough weather recently, he expects the swim to be very choppy.
“I predict a slower winning time than previous years, due to the wind and the new bike and run course,” he said.
“This will be the most spectator-friendly race in a long time with the crowd seeing the triathletes six times during the run course.”