Cayman athlete to tackle US Ironman for charity

Chris Bailey will be taking part in the Ironman 70.3 in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Chris Bailey will be taking on an Ironman challenge in the U.S. on Sunday to raise money to help young children with heart problems.

Mr. Bailey is one of four athletes who are heading to Racine, Wisconsin, on Friday for the Ironman 70.3 triathlon.

The “70.3” refers to the total distance in miles covered in the race, consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. Each distance of the swim, bike and run segments is half the distance of that segment in an Ironman triathlon.

Mr. Bailey, Daniel Cummings, Darrel Evans Jr. and Aldo Bertagna, all part of a group of Cayman-based athletes known as the Breakaway Squad, will be traveling to Wisconsin for the triathlon. Mr. Bailey is doing the Ironman 70.3 as part of the “Mountains and Marathons Challenge,” an initiative led by veteran marathoner Derek Haines, who aims to raise $1 million dollars for the charity Have a Heart Cayman Islands.

The Mountains and Marathons Challenge involves multiple marathons and two Ironman challenges, as well as ascents of three mountain peaks by Mr. Haines, Vico Testori and Barry Yetton. The mountaineering part of the challenge was completed by the trio last month.

All money raised by the athletes and climbers goes to the Have a Heart Foundation, which pays for operations at Health City Cayman Islands for young children from across the Caribbean, Central and South America.

“This is the second Ironman 70.3 I will do this year,” said Mr. Bailey. “It is one of three, with the final one being in Miami in October.”

He trains 15 to 20 hours a week, including swimming, cycling and running.

“My routine at present … is broken down into three to five hours swimming, six to eight hours cycling and three to five hours running, with a few ‘brick’ sessions, swim followed by bike or bike followed by run thrown in,” he said.

For Bailey, the cycling portion of the course is the part he is most looking forward to.

“It’s a relatively flat and fast course, which should help as the Cayman training is pretty flat,” he said.

“I enjoy the swim and the cycle, but at 260 pounds, I am a big runner so the knees and hips take some punishment.”

“For me,” he added, “it becomes a mental struggle to keep going, forget the hurt and the tiredness and just keep willing yourself forward.”

As well as favoring his knees and hips, he’s had another problem along the way – a chest infection.

“I recently had to travel for work which took me to three different countries in the space of two weeks, which in itself impacted the training schedule,” said Mr. Bailey. “I then managed to acquire [this] ‘wonderful’ chest infection which massively restricted my ability to breathe and train.

“I have managed to just about get it under control,” he said. “Ironman 70.3 and full Ironman require a dedication to training like no other sport. Endurance racing in three disciplines means three different types of training.”

Next up in the Mountains and Marathons Challenge is Shane Delaney, who will take part in an Ironman in Spain in October. After that, it’s Mr. Haines’s turn again, when he will travel to Havana, Cuba, in November for a marathon and then run in the Cayman Islands Marathon in December.

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