Athlete hit by car continues racing

Organizers of the Cayman Islands Triathlon will press for a section of road on which the race portion is run to be closed after a champion athlete competing in Sunday’s event was struck by a car.

Marius Acker, 42, who has won the triathlon in the last seven years, was hit by a car on West Bay Road near Duke’s restaurant. He briefly blacked out and was bleeding from two injuries, but got up when he regained consciousness and finished second in the grueling race.

“I was running in a straight line, not passing anyone at the time and was not swerving to avoid an oncoming runner,” Mr. Acker said. Fellow athletes Conrad Proud and Dean Gaffigan heard a loud thump and turned back to see Mr. Acker lying in the road.

“I briefly blacked out and when I opened my eyes I was wondering if I could move and if I should continue racing,” Mr. Acker said.

He got up slowly, left arm bleeding, left hip badly bruised, his running cap knocked off and his watch strap broken. “Conrad and Dean checked on me and I started walking and, after making sure there were no broken bones, I started running,” Mr. Acker said.

He said he was in shock but his thoughts went back to the race as he was well behind the leaders and he had another 8 kilometers of the 10K race to run.

According to witnesses, police arrived quickly and dealt with the driver, who had waited at the scene.

The accident had an impact on Mr. Acker’s time, but he still finished second overall and achieved the fastest run split of the day by about 90 seconds.

Seeking road closure

Triathlon race director Paul Schreiner said that prior to the race, he had written to the police commissioner requesting that a section of road be closed, but had received no response.

Mr. Schreiner said that the Cayman Islands Triathlon Association applied and received a processional permit for the entire race course, including the run portion on West Bay Road.

“We wrote a separate letter to the police commissioner requesting that West Bay Road be closed from Lime Tree Bay to the Governor’s Way roundabout at Public Beach and received no direct answer from the commissioner on the request,” Mr. Schreiner said.

He added, “I have no opinion nor idea on how easy or hard it would be to close the road.”

Mr. Schreiner said that he was told by a police officer after Mr. Acker had been hit that it was possible West Bay Road may be closed for the running stretch for next year’s event.

Police did not respond by press time to requests for comment on whether the driver faced any charges in relation to the accident.

The triathlon, which consisted of a 1,500 meter swim, 40 kilometer bike race and 10 kilometer run, was won by American visitor Patrick Harfield.