Hector Picard recaps his Triathlon for Grand Bahama's Beacon School
American paratriathlete, Hector Picard has returned back to the USA after spending a good week or so in The Bahamas where he participated in the Great Abaco Fitness Weekend and then led his own triathlon in Grand Bahama in aid of The Beacon School. The following are his own words recapping the event which took place last weekend in Freeport:
The Triathlon for the Beacon School was a complete success. I arrived on Grand Bahama island on the 24th and for 5 days I presented at various venues throughout the island that included churches, schools and support groups. I inspired with my story, but more importantly I made those that attended, aware of The Beacon School and the special children there.
I woke up on Saturday morning (March 29th) and was anticipating a long day. Unfortunately due to certain circumstances I didn't eat breakfast. I got to the 2.4 mile swim start at Taino Beach and I was welcomed by a 4 foot choppy surf. I was supposed to start at 7am but it was still dark resulting in a 7:35am start. Several local athletes and spectators were there to participate including Ray Cumberbatch who would be doing the entire triathlon with me. The swim was tough at first until I was able to time the waves and kick in between them. I finished in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The 112 mile bike ride started at 9:05am. The route took us from Taino Beach to the Grand Lucayan, to Lookout Point to High Rock, then back for two loops. We encountered some difficult winds making for a 7-hour ride but having a number of the local cyclists joining us throughout, in addition to the beautiful natural scenery of the island, made for an enjoyable time.
We started the 26.2 mile run at the Midshipman roundabout, where we were greeted by a multitude of runners that included several children. We started jogging for a few miles, but unfortunately I wasn't able to keep up the pace. Feeling exhausted after the swim and bike and lack of a nutrition, I still pressed on at a fast walking pace with short runs in between. The support of my running companions, along with thoughts of The Beacon School and it's special children helped me battle the occasional dizziness and focus on finishing. At mile 20 the thunderstorm added another obstacle to our long day, but didn't "damper" our spirits. Upon entering the Pelican Bay Hotel property we were greeted by cheers from a large group of supporters at the finish line. I ended the night with new friends at the fundraiser at Bones Bar and a much needed cold Bahamian beer.
The event was capped off with an emotional presentation at The Beacon School where we donated the triathlon shirt and almost $1,000 with more donations to come.
I want to thank Coach Bert Bell for his assistance for the entire week and for setting up the course as well as keeping us safe throughout the long 16 hour day.
Thank you to my sponsors The Pelican Bay Hotel, Balearia Bahamas Express, Kelly's Freeport Ltd, The Spellers and TheBahamasWeekly.com for supporting this first and hopefully annual event.
Finally, I would like to thank my wife Wendy and my new friends on Grand Bahama island. You listened to my story or swam or cycled or ran or cheered. Your donations of time and/or money will go a long way to help the children of The Beacon School. You have a friend for life in me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
With God's blessing I hope to see you all at the Second Annual Triathlon for The Beacon School.
Hectors website: www.dontstopliving.org
Top feature image: Supporters and members of The Beacon School come out to cheer paratriathlete Hector Picard on in the morning of March 29th at Taino Beach. He completed his 16 hour triathlon for The Beacon School at Pelican Bay Hotel. (Photo: Tito Cardenas)