The third annual Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend (GAFFW) continues to see growth with 72 triathletes competing in this year’s event as event organizer Lee McCoy sees even more growth to come in next year’s event which takes place in Treasure Cay.
He said that in 2012 they hosted 18 participants in the triathlons, which is their main event, which grew tremendously to 65 triathletes in 2013. “We had a huge jump from our first to second year, which we were expecting as it was a new event,” he said. “Overall between this year and last, we had about a 35% increase in participation.”
Mr. McCoy noted that GAFFW added a new event this year, a paddleboard clinic and races, which were hosted by PappaSurf out of Nassau. They also continued a kids’ cheerleading/dance clinic which was well attended and was led by Michaud Abraham from Marsh Harbour. “We are looking at adding in an additional triathlon race next year, a kid’s triathlon. This would be a significantly shorter triathlon, and in addition to the popular 1-mile kid’s run,” he said.
“We had a great year and raised funds for both the Rotary Club of Abaco and Friends of the Environment,” said Mr. McCoy. “The Jamis bicycle provided by Cycles Unlimited (Nassau) was raffled off for Friend’s and was won by a lady out of Hope Town.”
He added “Having Hector Picard participate in the community and in the events was also a great addition to this year’s GAFFW.” Hector, a double-amputee and motivational speaker, had his trip made possible by the Cable Cares Foundation and the Treasure Cay Resort & Marina. Jeff Key was instrumental in providing transportation to Hector and his family during his visit.
He competed in the races, provided a hands-free tire change demo to participants in GAFFW and presented to the students at ECC and Forest Heights Academy.
He then competed in the 1-mile Open Water Swim and the Sprint Triathlon. Hector was well received by the participants, young and old, as he spoke with everyone about his career in triathlons and his hardships in life and how he overcame them. The GAFFW looks forward to having Hector compete next year and are in talks to have another Abaco event hosted in the fall with his cooperation.
Mr. McCoy said when they started the GAFFW they were looking to do an event in the Abacos that “would be a destination event and also to provide a fun weekend for families and Abaconians to participate in.”
“Triathlons and road races have been expanding throughout the Bahamas, and we’ve added to that portfolio with this event,” he said. He noted that they learn more each year and “one of the big things we’re noticing is the domestic tourism aspect – participants are travelling in mass from Nassau and Freeport, as well as throughout Abaco.”
He said that overall they had a great year, improving on previous years and “We look forward to growing again next year and have tentatively set the 2015 dates for March 20-22.”
He thanked their main sponsors, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Damianos/Sotheby’s International Realty, Abaco Insurance Agency, Treasure Cay Resort & Marina, as well as their product and prize sponsors for their support.
Pete’s Pub & Gallery provided gorgeous awards for the Olympic Triathlons and Schooner Bay & The Sandpiper Inn awarded complimentary stays to the overall weekend winners, Simon Lowe and Linda Fijol. Other prize and product sponsors included Cycle’s Unlimited, Cocozona, Sands Beer, Dolphin Encounters, Ovaltine, Go-Ahead, Jergens, the Jib Room, the Green Cay Club, Firefly, Hope Town Canvas, the 242 Colour Run, and the Bahamas Half Marathon.
“We’d also like to thank all of our volunteers and spectators, as well as the Treasure Cay Fire Department and the Royal Bahamas Police Force,” he said.
A full list of the winners of each event and the different categories of winners is available on the GAFFW website www.gaffw.com.
They saw 37 persons compete in the Open Water Swim, 40 in the Individual Sprint Triathlon, eight in Sprint Triathlon Relay teams, five in Individual Olympic triathlon, one in Olympic Triathlon Relay teams, 33 in the Kids One Mile Run, 77 in the Five Kilometer run and 29 in the Ten Kilometer Run.