FOLLOWING a two-year hiatus, triathletes and spectators were happy to be outside soaking up the sun, sea and seamless synergy that come with being a part of Jake’s Off Road Triathlon.
Last Saturday, all roads led to Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth for the much-anticipated return of the event. Strengthened by Malta’s support, the long-standing event saw the young and the young at heart, based locally and overseas, participating in an atmosphere that inspired people to show off their drive and stamina.
With a total of 65 individuals and 25 teams, triathletes turned up bright-eyed and enthusiastic to tackle the course. Positioned at the Malta station to meet and greet participants as they stopped for refreshments, Carl Sharpe, president of the Jamaica Triathlon Association, shared his excitement for the day’s proceedings.
“This has been an excellent start to the season. Now we can truly say that we are back. Our athletes really needed to be out and active so we did our best to accommodate them and try to make them feel alive again.”
Undeterred by the morning sun, competitors pushed through each obstacle to the finish line as spectators cheered them on. Participants were thrilled at the warm reception and were even happier to be greeted by Malta reps who were on hand to refresh them with ice-cold tins of Malta beverage to keep them hydrated.
Boasting a successful turnout for its 26th staging, the triathlon is an integral part of the Treasure Beach community as monies raised go towards several community-based initiatives — primarily the BREDS Treasure Beach Sports Park founded in 1998 for youth development in the area.
“Malta is always keen on being a part of projects that serve our caregivers and our children. Jake’s Triathlon is such a unique and well-supported event that we wanted to amplify what the event means for the community by donating $150,000 through the Triathlon to BREDS,” said Melissa-Kim Johnson, Malta brand manager. Presenting winners, runners-up and special groups with gift packages during the presentation portion of the activities, Johnson shared that it was a great way for her brand to help maximise community outreach.
BREDS organiser Anneke Brown, who took a break from her administrative duties to also hand out prizes, commented on how the community rallied around the event in a positive and inclusive manner. “We are back like we never left! We love the energy we witnessed as the day’s festivities bring the community even closer together. People came out of their homes to cheer on the triathletes, and all of this is done thanks to a large number of people who are all volunteers.”
Jake’s Off Road Triathlon is the longest-running off-road event of its kind in the world. All proceeds go towards BREDS, whose initiatives focus on education, conservation, health and sports for social change.