By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
THOUGH Grand Bahama is still in recovery mode after Hurricane Dorian, plans are still in motion for one of the oldest triathlon in the country to take place.
Organisers of the Conchman Triathlon have already begun the countdown to the island’s premier race event that will see the months of training put to the test by participants.
The event takes place at on November 2 at Taino Beach, an area that was largely untouched by the category five storm. Participants will run, bike and swim.
Now in its 33rd year, the Conchman Triathlon has provided an environment of friendly competition for both residents and visitors alike over the decades while also encouraging the benefits of physical activity.
For the third year in a row, the event will feature the open male and female Olympic distance category. This will be followed at 8.15am by the triathletes competing in the various individual categories of the sprint, including the team relay.
The athletes will swim the 750-metre triangular course in the ocean at Taino Beach, then transition to their bikes and cycle 25km over Casuarina Bridge to the first roundabout and back. Then, they will run 5km from the transition area on Taino Beach to St Jude’s at Smith’s Point, and back down Jolly Roger Drive to Bell Channel, and return to the finish line at Taino Beach.
The Olympic competitors will complete each circuit twice. All triathletes will be required to comply with world safety standards.
“The Grand Bahama Port Authority is going full steam ahead to support the 33rd Conchman Triathlon,” explained GBPA Chairman Sarah St George. “We want the international community to know that Grand Bahama is back and we are ready for the tourist season and ready to host events again.”
For over a year now, organisers have been actively planning the event, which has garnered major local and international interest, attracting athletes from as far away as Switzerland. However, since the passage of Dorian there were questions as to whether the event would still happen.
“More than 50 athletes have already pre-registered for the event after Hurricane Dorian,” said organiser and GBPA Conchman Chairman Christopher Baker. “We’ve had lots of inquiries from international participants who expressed concerns, but we are happy to report that we are ready to press on as a testament to Grand Bahama’s continued resilience.” He advised that hotels are open to accommodate guests.
Since its debut in 1986, the triathlon has set a high standard of competition, which the planning committee expects to continue this year. In addition to attracting world-class triathletes, the event has continued to receive major support from local schools as well, with scores of students signing up to volunteer along the course and to compete in the secondary schools competition. Not only will this give them a front-row seat to an amazing level of athletic talent, but it helps them fulfil requirements for their Governor General Youth Award as well.
This year’s event will, for a second year, receive some major support from the New Providence-based bicycle shop Cycles Unlimited, which will be on hand to help participants get their bikes ready both on the day before the race, on Friday at the Flamingo Hotel on Taino Beach.
Race officials have also enlisted the assistance of vendors who will set up food and drink stands to keep the triathletes and volunteers refreshed over the course of the day. Junkanooers will be there playing live music to encourage competitors as they finish.