The third annual Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend is slated to take place in Treasure Cay from March 21 – 24, 2014. The scenic resort location lends a gorgeous backdrop to the races, including one of the Top 10 beaches in the world and smooth, flat roads perfect for biking and running.
The events include a 1-mile open water swim along the nearly 4 miles of pristine white beaches and clear blue seas. This first event of the weekend takes place on Friday afternoon, followed by a welcome reception and brief opening ceremony. Last year’s swim included terrific performances by the Abaco Swim Club. Persons of all ages and abilities took place, with gear ranging from performance skin suits to a rented mask and snorkel. Peter Wagner won the event for the second year in a row in 2013.
The main events take place starting at the crack of dawn on Saturday. The simultaneous Sprint and Olympic triathlons occur with both individuals and relay teams taking part. The Sprint distance includes a 500m swim, 20km bike (12.4 miles), and a 5km run (3.1 miles) and the Olympic distance is a 1500m swim, 40km bike (24.8 miles) and a 10km run (6.2 miles).
In 2012 the field grew from 16 entrants in the first year to over 65 entrants. “The popularity of the triathlons is increasing each year, as both locals and tourists share their experiences here.” said Lee McCoy, managing director of the events. “The relays are becoming increasingly popular as friends and family share their training and race experience to complete the challenge.”
Father and son duo Greg and Simon Lowe are both returning to compete, each one having won the Olympic triathlon in alternate years.
After the triathlons on Saturday morning, the youngsters get their chance to race. The Kids’ 1-mile fun run takes place within the resort on safe roads, well-attended by volunteers and parents alike. The children get to watch their parents race in the triathlons, and then the parents get to cheer on their kids afterward – it’s truly a family filled day.
After lunch at the Coco Beach Bar, the children are invited to participate in a junior cheer clinic, hosted by the Cheer Bahamas. The certified cheerleading coaches show the young participants and parents everything from entry level poses to advanced moves.
The awards ceremony for Saturday’s triathlon events takes place at the Spinnaker Restaurant that evening. This year some of the overall awards are being cast in bronze by Peter Johnston in Little Harbour, and other locally hand-crafted awards are being sought.
The final event takes place on Sunday morning, the 5k/10k fun run/walk. This 3.1 mile or 6.2 mile event attracts strollers, speed walker, joggers, and elite distance runners alike. The course again takes place within the Treasure Cay Resort and along scenic coastlines. This year the course will be internationally certified, making it the first official distance road race in the Abacos.
The weekend’s events close out with an awards ceremony for the 5k/10k and overall winners, those competing in all three events. Friends of the Environment will be drawing raffle tickets, sold via their website and during the event, the main prize being a Jamis bicycle provided by Cycles Unlimited out of Nassau, with other great prizes being added to the list.
The Treasure Cay Resort is set to host the event, increasing capacity from last year’s sold out weekend. Special event rates and rooms are blocked off, those interested should contact the resort directly to book accommodation. Transportation into Abaco is being provided by BahamasAir and Bahamas Ferries, with both services offering special trips. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board offer special packages to those staying at the resort, including free airfare with certain travel arrangements.
More information on travel, accommodation and specials is available on the event website, www.GAFFW.com
The Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend raises money for two main beneficiaries, the Rotary Club of Abaco and Friends of the Environment. Both organizations are non-profit and directly benefit Abaco and the islands of the Bahamas. Their support of the event is greatly appreciated, providing volunteers and organizational support to the weekend’s events.
Online registration is now open and early-bird registration savings are in effect until the end of January. Local registration in Abaco is available at Friends of the Environment. For more information on registration please visit their website or the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GAFFW