The endurance athletes of Cayman are gearing up for one of their sternest challenges.

The Cayman Islands Triathlon, now in its 23rd year, will be held on 5 Nov. at 6:45am at Seven Mile Public Beach, and the race organisers are expecting a bumper crop of participants.

Paul Schreiner, the race director, said Friday that he expects as many as 170 people to participate in this year’s triathlon, which is a sizable increase on last year’s total of 105 participants.

“It’s growing, but there’s a bit of a barrier to entry because you have three sports in one event,” said Schreiner. “You might have somebody who doesn’t want to or can’t do all three events at one time.

“Additionally, the bike is quite expensive. A cheap good bike is $2,000 to $3,000, and a [really] good bike is $10,000. There’s not many $10,000 bikes on island, I don’t think, but there will be a lot of $3,000 bikes.”

There are two different lengths of race for triathlon competitors to choose between.

Some will choose the Sprint distance, which is a 750m swim, a 12‑mile bike ride and a 5-kilometre run, while others will run the Olympic, a 1,500m swim, a 24‑mile bike ride and a 10K run. Schreiner said some competitors will race the Olympic distance as part of a two- or three-person team.

Long ago, said Schreiner, the Cayman Islands Marathon and Triathlon were separated by a week, but the dates were moved to allow competitors an opportunity to race in both.

“It’s been November for as long as anybody can really remember,” he said. “It used to be the week just prior to the marathon, but then you had two pretty taxing endurance events back-to-back.

“It works good because it’s sort of cooling down from summer.”

Schreiner said that there will likely be twice as many men as women entering the event, and he said that Marius Acker, the fastest finisher in the Stroke and Stride Series, will be a favourite at the triathlon.

Cayman First signed on as the sponsor of the Cayman Islands Triathlon, and a portion of proceeds from the event will be donated to Have a Heart Cayman Islands.

Public Beach on Seven Mile Beach, the site of the triathlon, has recently undergone renovations, and Schreiner said it should be a much scenic and comfortable location than it was years ago.

“Public Beach is a lot better. A lot greener. It’s a lot nicer than it used to be,” he said. “When people get done, there’s a lot of grass and shade to just relax. It used to be that you’d have to go sit in the sand.”

Schreiner said a key part of the event running smoothly is having lots of volunteers to help run it. Most years, he said, there are 100 volunteers, and it will need that many this year to run efficiently.

“We need a lot of volunteers, but it’s always a challenge,” he said. “The volunteers will be some form of marshal on the course, making sure the bikes are turning the correct way or the runners are going the correct way. And then we also have aid stations where they’ll be passing out water and Gatorade.”

Entry fees are $60 for the Solo Sprint and $80 for the Solo Olympic races. Entry fee for a two-person or three-person Olympic Team is $165. Participants must be members of the Cayman Islands Triathlon Association. Membership costs $15 annually and is available at registration. Registration is now open at www.caymanactive.com. For more information, visit www.triathlon.ky or email [email protected]