In 1986 Paul and Victoria Slinger started the Annual Grenada Triathlon, – Mr. Slinger had read about events such as these and was particularly interested in the Ironman thus the idea was born, albeit on a much smaller scale.
Originally held in January of each year as this was the tourist season and the thought was to gear the event towards them. However the Triathlon was gradually moved to the last weekend in April as January being right after the Christmas season not many people had time to train properly for this event. To bring attention to the triathlon locally, individual event races such as the cross harbour race took place in the months prior.
When the triathlon was first started it consisted of one individual race known as the Sprint which was held on the Saturday, as well as the relay race on the Sunday. The original train of thought behind the relay races was to encourage women and older athletes to participate, the rules for the first year were such that your team had to consist at least one woman and your accumulative age had to total a minimum of 100. By the second year this was discontinued, especially as younger athletes became more and more involved, particularly children and this was seen as a way to encourage everyone’s interest in the sport.
As Mr. Slinger had at one time lived in Trinidad he was able to arrange participation by some of their athletes. The very first triathlon had roughly 9 persons take part. The oldest person known to take part in the Grenada Triathlon was an 80 yr old, he was however quite the athlete, as he was an Ironman competitor.
In 1995/96 other events were added bringing it to a total of 4 events on the Saturday. The triathlon’s first home was on Grand Anse Beach next to the Grand Beach Resort which was formerly known as the Ramada Hotel. When the Camerhogne Park was finished then the event was moved to there until 2002, when it was moved to L’Anse Aux Epines Beach. This was done as a result of the increase in road traffic and an increase in numbers participating in the events.
The Annual Grenada Triathlon is normally held the last weekend in April each year and comprises of different events held over 2 days; individual events on Saturday and Relays on Sunday. The event is organised in age groups for boys, girls, men and women. The committee realise the importance of encouraging the youngsters to participate as they are our future athletes. Triathlons are both fun and challenging for everyone, from first time competitors to the more experienced participants. The emphasis of Triathlon in Grenada is to participate in this wonderful sport and enjoy it! It should be a good weekend for competitors and spectators alike.
Triathlon consists of three disciplines, swimming, cycling and running in that order. Many competitors arrive in Grenada one week prior to the Triathlon to train and adjust to the climate and conditions, and many stay on an additional week for post-race recovery.
In 2002 the torch of managing the triathlon event in Grenada was handed over to Don and Liz DeCaul who together with their team continue to bring awareness of the Grenada Triathlon further to the forefront of the sporting community.
Members of the organising committee changed over the years, yet apart from 2005 (the year after Hurricane Ivan) a Triathlon was held every year. In 2004 the Grenada Triathlon Association was formed to enable the sport to develop in Grenada with the assistance and guidance of the International Triathlon Union and the Grenada Olympic Committee. In 2006 at the Commonwealth Games, Grenada was represented in the sport of Triathlon for the first time by Marc DeCaul. The 20th Annual Grenada Triathlon will be held on May 5th & 6th 2007.
Triathlon is among one of the fastest growing sports around and featured in the 2004 Olympics for the second time; its debut was in 2000. The Olympic distance involves a 1500m swim followed by a 40km bike ride and finishes with a 10km run. In Grenada the longest event is Sprint, which is half the Olympic distance.