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The beautiful and tropical UWC Bahamas Triathlon aims to raise money for scholarship for Bahamians to receive a United World Colleges education. The event weekend, which has taken place since 2011, consists of a triathlon clinic for kids, a kids triathlon, a sprint triathlon and an Olympic-distance triathlon for professionals. The race always attracts a handful of top pros looking to close out their seasons in a tropical location while competing for a good cause. This year’s start list for the women included 2014 ITU world champion Gwen Jorgensen (USA), Life Time Tri Series winner Alicia Kaye (USA), Heather Wurtele (CAN), Lauren Brandon (USA), Beth Gerdes (USA), Anna Cleaver (NZL) and Jackie McKenzie (AUS). For the men, 70.3 world championship third-place finisher Tim Don (GBR), 2014 Kona runner-up Ben Hoffman (USA), 2013 Kona runner-up Luke McKenzie (AUS), Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker (USA), Barrett Brandon (USA), Trevor Wurtele (CAN) and Davide Giardini (ITA) competed.
The competition also saw a few notable celebrity athletes make the start. Tennis players Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki teamed up with Paul Rees to compete in a sprint relay. Rees did the swim, Willams completed the bike and Woznkiacki, who competed in the New York City Marathon last weekend, did the run.
Giardini led the men out of the 1500-meter swim with a time of 17:16. Shoemaker was next at 17:18, with Brandon (17:20), Don (17:22), McKenzie (17:25) and Hoffman (17:27) following not far behind. Wurtele was left to try to make up a gap with a 19:25 swim split. McKenzie (50:59), Don (51:08), Brandon (51:12) and Giardini (51:14) broke away from the others to set up for a competitive run. Don had the best run (33:11) of that group, giving him the victory in 1:42:38. Giardini followed in second, with McKenzie rounding out the top three.
Brandon led the women out of the water in 17:47, giving her a gap over pre-race favorites Jorgensen (18:19) and Kaye (18:22). Kaye backed up her strong swim with a stellar 54:48 bike ride. Wurtele (56:06) and Brandon (56:36) also posted strong bike splits, but Kaye was too far down the road for anyone else to have a chance. She backed up that bike effort with a 36:19 run to earn the 1:50:36 victory. Jorgensen’s race-best 33:53 run split propelled her to second, with Wurtele claiming the third spot.
UWC Bahamas Triathlon
Clifton Heritage Park, Bahamas – Nov. 9, 2014
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Tim Don (GBR) 1:42:38
2. Davide Giardini (ITA) 1:43:44
3. Luke McKenzie (AUS) 1:44:35
4. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 1:44:52
5. Barrett Brandon (USA) 1:46:18
1. Alicia Kaye (USA) 1:50:36
2. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 1:52:04
3. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 1:55:51
4. Lauren Brandon (USA) 1:57:24
5. Anna Cleaver (NZL) 1:59:07