Mercuryman Triathlon: Have you got what it takes?

The Cayman Islands is quickly becoming one of the world’s top destinations for sports tourism.  The large variety of sporting events staged here in the past year is a testament to these islands’ ability to cater to a wide variety of sporting interests, including the sport of triathlon.

The sport of triathlon, which is comprised of swimming, cycling and running, took the world by storm after making its international debut at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. Since then, participation in the sport has grown exponentially. There are thousands of triathlon events of varying distances organized around the world, not least right here in the Cayman Islands. With its crystal clear warm waters for swimming, and smooth roads for cycling and running, Grand Cayman is a natural venue to host a world-class triathlon event.

The second edition of the Mercuryman half iron distance triathlon, presented by the Cayman Islands Triathlon Association, will take place at the Reef Resort on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. This endurance triathlon, one of only a few of its kind in the Caribbean, attracts both professional triathletes and weekend warriors who want to push their limits by participating in an ultimate test of stamina and perseverance.

The event will feature a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. The Mercuryman Triathlon can be done individually or as part of a relay team.

There is also an aquabike option for individual competitors who prefer to compete only in the swim and bike portion of the event.

The Mercuryman Triathlon made its official debut in 2013. Pedro Gomes and Lesley Smith, both professional triathletes, won the male and female divisions of the triathlon respectively, while Sean Crothers and Beth Fischer took first place in the aquabike races. Since winning the Mercuryman Triathlon last year, Pedro Gomes went on to win Ironman Sweden in July, which is a true testament to the quality of athletes the Mercuryman Triathlon can attract.

It is expected that the pro field will be even bigger in 2014, as professional triathletes from the United States use the race to gauge their fitness for the upcoming season and to acclimatize to racing in the heat.

The Mercuryman Triathlon would not be possible without a full crew of volunteers. On race day, volunteers keep athletes safe in the water, direct them on the course and drape medals around their necks at the finish line. The event is always in need of volunteers and those who are interested can sign up at All volunteers will receive an event T-shirt, BBQ lunch and a chance to win random prizes.

Spectators are another feature of a successful triathlon, as they provide much needed encouragement to tired athletes out on the course and help make the race memorable for participants. Specators are encouraged to come out to the Reef Resort on Jan. 19, 2014 to watch the race, particularly during the run portion of the event between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.