The year was 1994 and I was on Dr Colin Couper’s couch whilst he determined how to reconstruct my knee so that I could continue triathlon.
Colin started to reminisce on the 1987 and 1988 international triathlons with prize purses of $100,000 which at the time, along with the Gold Coast Triathlon, was the biggest prize purse in triathlon. He then asked me whether I thought I could get an international triathlon back to Bermuda.
1987 -1988 was a big logistical exercise with courses that took in the whole of the middle section of the island for the 40km bike but by 1994 under the influence of ITU President Les MacDonald the bike course for triathlon had become draft legal with 8 x 5km loops the norm. That meant that there would be far less disruption if we could find a suitable bike course.
Colin soon got government on board , I designed a 5km bike course around the Southampton Princess, which had agreed to be the race hotel, got government,Ace, Bermuda Commercial Bank and an anonymous donor to put up the $200,000 needed to put on the race and Bermuda was part of the top level ITU World Cup circuit attracting the world’s best triathletes. With the fantastic support of a group of local triathletes such as Steve Petty and Tab Froud the event soon came together and Dave McGillivray, the Boston Marathon race director , was brought in to work with local coordinator Suthy Madeiros.
The event was a huge success but the logistics of holding it in Southampton were far more complicated than holding it in Hamilton and so, on the advise of Dave MacGillvray, the race was moved to Hamilton in 1996 and 1997. After feedback from the professionals racing in 1996 I then modified the bike course to include Corkscrew Hill, which proved a great success and the Hill, as it came to be known amongst the 1997 professional triathletes, will again feature in the course announced this week for the 2018 Bermuda World Cup.
It was during these World Cups in the early 1990’s that the young Flora Duffy got her inspiration to one day emulate the professionals she saw racing but who would have thought in 1997 that just over 20 years later the then 10 year old would be returning to Bermuda as two time ITU World Series winner.