FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Months of planning culminated in a day of friendly but fierce competition as organizers and participants of the 33rd Annual Conchman Triathlon swam, biked and ran their way to the finish line. Since its inception more than 30 years ago, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Conchman Triathlon has welcomed competitors from across the globe, with this year’s event attracting athletes from as far away as Switzerland.
At the sound of the pistol, 125 triathletes, competing in categories ranging from Sprint, Olympic and IronKids, as individuals and in teams, put months of intense training to the test at the annual sporting event. Set against the backdrop of Grand Bahama’s beautiful Taino Beach, the event once again gave race enthusiasts the opportunity to swim, bike and run their way to triathlete success.
A slew of vendors such as Jasmine Roxbury, Carla Hanna-Wilson and Tony Macaroni provided food and drink stands along the route to keep triathletes and volunteers refreshed over the course of the day. The event was again able to provide an environment that was both safe and competitive.
“This year’s event was extra special for us, considering the destruction left behind by Hurricane Dorian in September,” explained Conchman Committee Chairman Christopher Baker. “We are extremely proud of all those who participated and equally thankful for the support of all our partners, including the Grand Bahama Port Authority, who went above and beyond in ensuring that the race could continue as planned.”
Following an impressive showing of athleticism in all the race categories, this year’s batch of triathletes were treated to a special award ceremony at the Bandstand on Taino Beach to honor their achievements. This year’s Conchman awards were specially designed and crafted by Grand Bahama Island’s signature glass artist Sidney Pratt, otherwise known as the Glassblower.
“Everyone who finished the race was awarded a GBPA Conchman special medal and those who finished first, second, or third in the individual categories received the coveted glass conch shell, which was topped with a vibrantly colored starfish,” explained Baker.
In the individual category, Simon Lowe, Sean Farrington and Ralph Wood claimed the first, second and third spots respectively, while the YMCA Wave Runners comprised of Marvin Johnson, Ricardo Major and Michael Riley took top honors in the relay category, completing with a time of 1:17:58. Rounding out the top three in the relay category was team Anonymous, which completed in a time of 1:18:14, and team Mother Conch, which finished with a time of 1:29:54.
For the third year in a row, the event also featured the Open Male & Female Olympic distance category, which saw triathletes Jamey Nix, Richard Ballance and Lisa Brewer claim the top three spots. Ralph Wood and Jenna Chaplin recorded the fast split times for males and females respectively in the 750-meter swim category. On the 25-kilometer bike portion of the race, the fastest split times were awarded to Simon Townsend and Sylvia Bateman, while the fastest splits for the 5-kilometer run were awarded to Ralph Wood and Veronica Moran-Lescure.
Three schools were able to put up teams to compete for the Secondary Schools Award, including the Lucaya International School, Sunland Baptist Academy and the Bishop Michael Eldon School. Sunland and the Lucaya International School won the prize for most students competing.
In an equally impressive showing, participants in the IronKids categories thrilled race audiences. Dylan Mellor took top honors in the boys 7-8 age group, Noah Knowles went unchallenged in the 9-10 age group and Ayden Bain took top honors in the 11-12 age group. In the girls 7-8 age group, Isabella Cucurrollo took the winning spot, with the remaining age groups won by Adaiah Smith and Zoe Williamson.
Organizers are already looking forward to next year’s event. A full listing of all this year’s winners can be viewed on the organization’s website at https://www.conchmantriathlon.com, as well as on the event’s social media at https://www.facebook.com/conchmantriathlon/.