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Report by Todd VanSickle, Additional snippets by Alastair Abrehart
On Saturday, the BVI Triathlon Federation hosted several events at Peter Island Resort to raise money for the Family Support Network organisation.
￼The event featured a triathlon, an aquathon and Zumba. The triathlon consisted of a 1,000-metre swim, a five-mile bike ride and a four-mile run. There was also a team division. The aquathlon featured a 400-metre swim and a two-mile run. After the adult divisions finished, there was a youth event, which consisted of a 50-metre swim, an 800-metre bike and a 100-metre run.Antony Spencer topped the men's triathlon recording his fourth victory in this year's triathlon season, making it four-for-four so far. Kat Brownsdon topped the ladies division. Both won this event last year. Team Xtreme with Tash Ruscheinski, Alastair Abrehart and Kat Crumpler won the team event. Guy Williamson and Jenny McIvor won the mens and ladies divisions respectively in the aquathlon. While faster times were recorded across the board, general consenus is that the swimming course was 200-metres shorter than it should have been because Peter Island, in the course of replacing the swim zone markers over the winter, may have put them back closer together. Therefore, the records have reset rather than been broken. Vernon Johnson competed in the run portion of the triathlon as part of the Peter Island 2 Team. It was his first time competing in a running competition. “My runs are a little more scenic, this was more rigorous,” Mr. Johnson said. He added that working on the island didn’t give him any advantage in the race. “There are some really good runners and swimmers here today,” Mr. Johnson said. “This course is really challenging with the hills. The descents are really hard on the knees too.” The assistant general manager added that there were a few reasons why he was competing in the event, including boosting camaraderie among his co-workers.
“We were able to get the employees and managers together to do something good. It is for a good charitable cause,” Mr. Johnson said. “And to challenge myself.”All told, the event raised $1,440 for FSN. Gareth Thomas was running the cadet races. He said holding such events is important to the sport’s future.
“The idea behind holding a cadet’s race is to get more kids out there, because obviously they can be tomorrow’s adult athletes,” Mr. Thomas said. “We are trying to encourage as much swimming, biking and running for these guys, because it is going to be fantastic for them to keep fit with all the challenges of obesity. What better place to do that than Peter Island. It has been fantastic.”About 12 cadets between the ages of 5 and 12 years old took part in the youth event. This year the BVITF has a five-race series for the cadets. The winner of each division will be awarded a new bike. “There is motivation there,” Mr. Thomas said. Alex Fountain, 9, won his division in the cadet race on Saturday. “It feels good to take the gold,” said the Cedar International School student after the race. It was his third consecutive win this season. He said Saturday’s race was one of his favourites, because of the course. He said he enjoys the run the most. BVITF President Antony Spencer was the overall winner for the second consecutive year. He beat Natasha Ruscheinski out of the water, by just a few strokes. “That always makes me feel so happy, because she is much faster than me,” Mr. Spencer said. “She has been away for five weeks. That is the only time I have beat her.” Aside from competing, he also helped organise the event. “We always hope everything goes smoother for the second year,” Mr. Spencer said. “Everyone knows what they are doing.” Last year, some of the competitors had trouble navigating the course, but this year the organisers and the host placed signs at various points throughout the course.
“I would say that it would be impossible for anyone to go the wrong way, but someone did,” Mr. Spencer said.All of the entry fees go to FSN, which is the chosen charity by Peter Island Resort. “It is lovely to see all the people who turned up today,” Mr. Spencer said. “The more that turn up, the more we donate. So, a big thank you to everybody.” Aside from the resort breakfast, charity and beautiful location, the competition is still very stiff, according to the BVITF president. “We are keeping each other honest,” Mr. Spencer said. “It gets harder and harder each year. There is a real rivalry in the men and women triathlon community.” The BVITF said there are signs that the sport is growing in the region. Next May, there is going to be a Caribbean Islands Championship. The event will be held in Miami for the first year and will most likely move around to different islands. “It was decided that it would be held in Miami, because it would be the easiest place to get to,” Mr. Spencer said. “Everyone is really excited about it. We are going to take as many as we can, so we can put the BVI on the triathlon map. That is our goal.”