As the sun rose over the stunning Smuggler’s Cove on Sunday, 13 June 2021, our lycra-clad long distance athletes lined up to start the inaugural BVI 70.2. This 70.2-mile triathlon saw 10 individuals and 10 teams competing.
The 1.9km swim consisted of 3 loops through tranquil waters over glorious reefs, with superstars Stacey Olsen, Richard Morgan and Mark Street assisting on the water to keep a close eye on the athletes. Timing team extraordinaire, Nellie Morgan and Christian Hidalgo, raised the flag!!! Ready, set, gooooo!!!!
With the BVI’s finest swimmers out in force, the times did not disappoint! After a fierce battle to the first buoy, Natasha Ruscheinski jostled for first position with Shane Donovan, Clinton Hempel and Antony Spencer (each participating as part of a team). This speeding pack pulled away and stayed in tight formation throughout the course. Clinton pulled alongside Natasha for a sprint finish, but Natasha managed to hold her ground and emerged from the water first, with a breathtakingly quick time of 31:03. The race was on.
The athletes then completed a cool but undulating 3.4km run (swim to bike transition) around the beautifully still Steele Point, to reach the transition area at Admirals Pub, Frenchman’s Cay. Time for athletes to grab their bikes and complete 90km, comprising of 5 loops along the picturesque coastal road, Sir Francis Drake Highway.
Iain Tucker had managed to catch Juliane Potgieter during the transition run (with a run time of 15:32), allowing Kenton Jones to lead out the cyclists. However, Kenton didn’t hold the lead for long, with a sharp looking Craig Allam and super charged Jason Du Plessis in hot pursuit. For the individuals, Colm Rafferty and Shane Donovan were neck and neck going into the ride and, in the not so far distance, Aaron Gardner was pulling out all of the stops to catch them.
The bike course is the longest leg of the event (90km/56 miles) and it didn’t fail to shake up the ranking. Our flying French cycling machine, Philippe Leroy, was furiously ploughing through the field but was forced to finish the gruelling course while riding with a flat tyre and decided to retire. Shane Donovan was forced to hold up his hands in defeat after some water/logistical disasters, while Mark Stephenson slowly started to pick his way through the field.
As the sun rose higher, we could see the field begin to break under the hot sun and building head winds. Daniel Mitchell accepted his fate after being so close to finishing the bike course. Grant Carroll played it smart and made the most of the bench seating at the bike turnaround to take a breather before bringing it home.
The first cyclist home was Jason du Plessis with a time of 2:53:07, Juliane Potgieter was off like a shot to finish the 17.7k run. The first individual to finish the ride was Mark Stephenson, followed by Colm Rafferty and Johanna Murphy. The individuals were somewhat less spritely going into their respective runs… the sun was not going to make this a pretty affair. The determined athletes gritted their teeth and pushed on. The water stations heroes kept the athletes going with their cheers and ice!!
Ian Montgomery managed to catch Juliane Potgieter on the run with an impressive finishing time of 1:28:03, securing his team’s victory in a time of 5:13:53. Mark Stephenson lead the individual event throughout the run and showed unbelievable grit, to finish as first individual man, with a time of 5:49:44. Colm Rafferty managed to keep pushing to claim second place in a time of 6:18:41, followed by a tenacious Ray Wearmouth (finishing time of 6:29:18). Johanna Murphy finished as the first individual female in 6:23:20, followed by Sue Tucker with a time of 7:46:54– this lady is not a quitter! After finishing, Sue Tucker exclaimed, “a massive thank you, that sucked so bad, but sign me up for next year”.
Huge congratulations to all those who took part and a HUGE thank you to all our volunteers who gave up their time and energy to make this event a success and to support the athletes!! Particular thanks to Nellie and Richard Morgan, Christian Hidalgo, Tilly Bruce, Stacey Olsen, Russell Crumpler, VISAR, Mark Street and our water stations teams. THANK YOU!!!! This took a lot of community spirit to pull together and the BVI certainly did it in style. Even through the challenges there were lots of smiles, support and camaraderie –a super event all round!
We hope to see you next year to do it all again! Johanna and Aaron