Courtis finds the right stroke this time

The A Step Ahead Physiotherapy Stroke & Stride series staged its second race on Wednesday and reigning champion Matthew Courtis won this time, unlike the previous week when he lost to Ben Creasey. 

The swim leg of the event at Sunset House was extended from 400 metres to 600m this week and as Courtis is a far better swimmer than Creasey, he was able to build up a bigger lead coming out of the water. 

This time Courtis could not be caught on the two-mile run along South Church Street. 

Courtis finished in 20 minutes, 35 seconds and second place went to Marius Acker, the former multiple champion, who is also a better swimmer than Creasey. 

Acker (20:48) was trailed by Creasey (21:07) in the first week’s swim but this time he was able to get far enough ahead to prevent Creasey benefiting from swimming directly behind him. 

Juice Gomez (23:13) was fourth and Jordan Crooks (23:30) fifth. 

In the women’s race, Elaine Kerr (26:01) – who was second to Nadine Gray the first week – was the fastest this time. Fiona Campbell (26:44) was second and Nanine Lourens (26:51) was third again. Andrea Kilam-Higgo (26:56) came fourth and Gray (27:19) fifth. 

The final race in the series, next Wednesday, is an 800m swim and two mile run. 

The new timing system introduced by Trevor Murphy and Claire Griffiths of the Cayman Islands Triathlon Association again went well. Christine Gibbs, event organizer and owner of A Step Ahead Physiotherapy, said, “It was an exciting race. We had 113 individuals and 18 teams and even more spectators. The Sunset House deck was full and tons of people crowded around the transition area to watch and cheer. “Everyone was waiting anxiously to see who would round the corner for the finish first. I honestly don’t know who was the crowd favorite. We were all just excited.” 

The fastest team was Sinclarino (23:20), Cat and Brad (23:23) were second and third were Fit Freakz (27:10). 

Gibbs added that they were all torn between wanting the veteran, Acker, who has won more events here than most have even entered, Courtis, the young super-jock home from Oxford University in the U.K. for the summer, or the newbie, Creasey, who only came to Cayman, from Guernsey, at the start of the year. 

“In the end, it was Matthew with his amazing aquatic ability that won it,” Gibbs said. 

The final finishers from last week, Maria Kharitidi and Marion Jones, persevered again and finished with smiles, concluding race two with a promise to be back next week. 

Their times of 55 minutes were 10 minutes slower than the next slowest participants, but for them it is the taking part that counts, certainly not the winning. 

Juice Gomez was fourth.
Juice Gomez was fourth.

Matthew Courtis won Stroke & Stride’s second race. - PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD

Matthew Courtis won Stroke & Stride’s second race. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD