30th May Tobago The triathletes of Nevis once again demonstrated their importance in the regional triathlon scene as they tested themselves against the best in the Caribbean at the 5th annual Rainbow Cup Triathlon.
Reggie and Kristina were the returning champions of this event from 2008, accompanying them was the indomitable James Weekes, a former national Triathlon Champion who had to change to the sprint event because of shoulder and knee injuries, plus two friends of Nevis Gwen Pullman/Trucco and Sarah Ittman.
The race setting in Tobago was as spectacular as past years with event organizer Jason Gooding pulling out the stops to provide on site accommodation and entertainment, first class!
The stage was set for a thrilling race, as pro Elite female Kelsey Kooreman, a former winner of this event had returned to challenge Kristina, whilst in the male division Jason Wilson, an up and coming Junior Elite racer from Barbados, fresh from a fantastic10th place finish in the recent Pan-Am triathlon Championships, was on hand to challenge Reggie for his title.
22 Olympic racers and 82 Sprint racers were in attendance from many different countries, a special mention must be made to the 40 members of Team Hope, a group of individuals who were taking on the sprint triathlon as a way to raise money for challenged children in Trinidad & Tobago, they had been training with the Rainbow Warriors tri club for the last 7 months to get ready for their 1st triathlon. They raised over TT$ million, amazing.
The swim was a mass start 2 laps for the Olympic and 1 lap for sprint, and from the first bouy the stage was set as Jason and Kelsey stormed away from their less experienced racers to open a gap that continued to widen as the race continued, no big surprise but always impressive to see athletes swim that quickly.
Both Reggie and Kristina finished almost 8 and 10 minutes respectively, behind the two pro athletes but undaunted they proceeded to do what they are trained to do, race as hard as they can, James meanwhile had a surprisingly good swim completing his lap in 15.20 before heading out on the 4 lap bike course. Reggie and Kristina took on the 8 lap bike course and this was where they both shone, posting the 2nd fastest bike splits of the day in their divisions.
Transitioning into the run James had already passed most of his competition leaving only 2 athletes out on the 2 lap run course ahead of him, for Reggie and Kristina it was to prove a very long day in the sun, as there had been a mistake in the setting of the run course, so much so that the course was overrun by an astounding 6 km. None of the athletes were aware of this, prompting Kristina to remark that was the toughest 10km course I have ever run this did account for the lengthy run splits recorded.
The final outcome had the inevitable conclusion of Jason and Kelsey taking the top spots with Reggie and Kristina holding on to overall 2nd places by comfortable margins, James meanwhile had blitzed the field to take 1st place overall in the Sprint race.
Nevis guest racers Gwen and Sarah had also podiumed in their respective categories and Gwen took 4th overall in womens Olympic distance, so the whole group returned with trophies they should be very proud of.