Evans’ win is part of bigger goal

DJ Evans poses with his medal after winning the 2019 Mercuryman Triathlon International Distance.

After a fourth overall finish a year earlier in the half-iron distance, Caymanian triathlete DJ Evans opted for the international distance at the 2019 Mercuryman Triathlon. The move paid dividends, as the West Bay native crossed the finish before any of his competitors.

“It feels absolutely great,” Evans told CaymanSportsBuzz.com after the race on 8 September. “It’s my first win at this distance and I just wanted to just get out there and show what I’ve been working on.”

The 36-year-old finished in two hours, 25 minutes and 4.45 seconds, ahead of Marius Deysel (2:28.51.86) and James Birkett (2:34:43.15).

The international distance involved a 0.6-mile swim off Eden Rock, followed by a 28-mile bike ride and a 6.5-mile run.

“The swim was where I expected. I wanted to push the bike a bit more to see if I could back it up with a good run. I’m pleased to see where everything is at,” Evans said.

“The swim was really good. The conditions were top-notch; visibility was really good. I’m kind of a middle pack swimmer, so I tried to hold the pace and see where I rolled in and try not to spend too much energy in the water. On the bike, I just wanted to get out there and feel the course, try and ride fast and stay within a good measurable effort,” he elaborated.

His main concern was on the run, having slowed down on the second lap of the course and noted that was something he had to work on.

Although he savoured the win, the member of the Generali Breakaway Squad said he was using the event as a test for a triathlon in Cozumel, Mexico on 29 September.

“I wanted to do a ‘hit out’ race just to see where everything was at and see if the training is sticking,” he said. “It felt really good. I expect the same kind of conditions in Cozumel too, just not as humid as here.”

He added that while he felt good about his performance, the plan is to keep preparing to be in peak shape for the race in Mexico.

In a sport dominated by expats living in the Cayman Islands or by visiting athletes, Evans hopes that winning the event a year after Kendall Ebanks had a similar achievement, more homegrown athletes will embrace the athletic challenge of triathlons.

“Triathlon is a wholesome lifestyle sport and it is truly something that you can continue to pursue improvement. This is not a seasonal sport, it’s something that you can commit your mind and body to,” he said.

Sarah Wium won the women’s international distance in 2:39:27.09, followed by Kelsey Halley (2:51:20.39) in second and Nicola Freeth (2:56:29.49) in third.

In the more gruelling Half-Iron distance that covered 70.2 miles of swimming, cycling and running, Phillip McCatty was the winner, completing the course just shy of five hours (4:58:08.5). He was followed by Patrick Harfield (5:04:54.5) and Jamie Hughes (5:13:19.9) in second and third. Laura Hicks (5:16.03.3) was the women’s Half-Iron winner, with Sharnelle Byles (5:29.18.2) second and Kirsten Ceillier (5:33:23.6) third.

See full results here.

The next triathlon on the local calendar is the Cayman Islands Triathlon on 3 November.

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