Marius Acker finished the Cayman Islands Triathlon in one piece this time, once again triumphant, and now looks forward to defending his half-marathon title.
The 13.1 mile run is on Dec. 6 and in the coming month he will run regularly with a recovery swim in the afternoons. Acker was knocked over by a negligent motorist on West Bay Road when starting his triathlon run last year, briefly blacking out and left bleeding. But on Sunday the road was closed off and the most threatening vehicles were strollers.
He finished the Olympic distance of 1,500 meters swim, 40 kilometer bike and 10K run in 2 hours, 14 minutes, 47 seconds but because the run was over 600 meters longer than it officially should have been, it equated to a 2:10 finish. This was his eighth Cayman tri victory and certainly the hottest Olympic distance event he has ever done. Having battled to get fit from a foot injury as well, completing the course in a fast time was all the more satisfying. “The event was tough in the sense that I did not know if my legs would hold up in the run after finishing the cycle leg of the race,” Acker said.
“The run is normally where I make up lost time on rivals who ride on much better bikes than I do and whose strength is their bike discipline.
“I basically had to wait until the run to see if my legs were holding up as I was not able to run in the 14 days leading up to the event due to injury.”
Despite a slight back spasm in his lower right back and numb feet when he transitioned from cycling shoes into running ones, Acker was OK.
Then he got stomach cramps a couple of kilometers from home so he stopped drinking water and briefly had to walk.
“Throughout the run, I used water to cool me down by throwing it over myself. The last two laps was the most challenging part of the race because of the heat and the stomach cramp and obviously being 90 seconds behind Stuart Bray at the start of the run was a concern.”
Acker managed to catch Bray within the first mile of the event and then he pressed on to try and reach the 2:12 time he set for himself.
Acker was 36 when he won the Cayman triathlon for the first time. Winning this race at age 44 gave him immense satisfaction, although talented youngsters David Lim and Ben Creasey did not enter. Creasey was off island and Lim was there as a spectator.
Bray, Creasey and Lim could test Acker next year, and in a few more years the improving teenagers Brandon Williams and Dominic Dyer could also put up a strong challenge. Williams won the sprint event and Dyer is an accomplished runner who made his triathlon debut this time.
Acker feels the organization of this event gets better every year, partly because it acts on post-race feedback from athletes. “It is a pleasure to be able to do a race knowing that the organization will be stellar,” said Acker.
“It’s great to have a tri committee and volunteers giving up their time and energy for such a great event.”
The fact that the road was closed off to all vehicles was another plus, although there are flashbacks, he said, every time he passes the spot, near Duke’s restaurant, where he was knocked down.