The organising team at Jakes Off-Road Triathlon, a small triathlon on the secluded South Coast of Jamaica, has laid claim to the title of ‘world’s longest-running off-road triathlon’. Back in the 1995-1996 triathlon season there must have been something in the air – as the three oldest off-road triathlons came to life between autumn/fall 1995 and autumn/fall 1996.
These three events have marched in tandem every year since the mid 1990s: (1) Scott Tinley’s Dirty Adventure (San Luis Obispo, California) ,which got under way in September 1995, (2) Jakes Off-Road Triathlon (Treasure Beach, Jamaica) in spring 1996 and (3) XTERRA (Maui, Haiwai’i) in the next autumn/fall.
Sadly, five years of drought in Monterey, California, brought about a decision by Tri-California Events, the owner and producer of both Wildflower and Scott Tinley’s Dirty Adventure (STDA) to cancel its events in 2017. And so, as at September 2017, Jakes Off-Road Triathlon claimed the position of ‘longest-running off-road triathlon in the world’.
Scott Tinley, four-time Triathlon Hall of Fame recipient, multiple IRONMAN winner and published author, San Diego State professor, founder and namesake of SDTA said, “We started Tinley’s Dirty Adventures in 1995 to get dirty on the trails, avoid the pitfalls of pavement and commune with nature, making it the original off-road triathlon. We had a great run, but now it’s up the Jamaicans to carry on the torch as the longest running off-road triathlon. Keep it real, Mon.”
Jakes Off-Road Triathlon was founded by Jason Henzell (whose family produced and directed the legendary movie The Harder They Come) and Amy Gottlieb of the US Peace Corps, as a thank you from the Treasure Beach community to the US Peace Corps volunteers who had been working there for years.
“We wanted to attract athletes to this unique off-the-beaten track destination to swim, ride and run through the various fishing and farming districts and appreciate the landscape and fabric that comes together to make up the community of Treasure Beach,” said Jason Henzell, proprietor of Jakes Hotel in Treasure Beach, the host and sponsor of the event.
“It’s always a wonderful event. The people in the community turn out to line the roads and cheer on the racers. It’s fantastic.”
Triathlon Hall of Fame event director Jim Curl joined the event organising team in 1990 and has directed it since. “We are proud to take the mantle from Scott’s event and carry it on. To being able to keep this event alive and vital all these many years is an example of how special Treasure Beach is.”
Jake’s Off-Road Triathlon is the biggest event of the year in the tiny and secluded community of Treasure Beach, Jamaica, and draws an enthusiastic and vocal local crowd for the race and its associated festival and parties. No one takes a fee and all monies over costs go to the local charity Breds (Jamaican patois for ‘Brethren’) and to the Treasure Beach Women’s Group.
The event has grown but still keeps its local roots, intimate feel, party atmosphere and manageable numbers, never exceeding 150 contestants.
Jakes has been awarded many distinctions in its long history:
- Top 10 Destination Races by Active.com
- Top Five Global Off-Road Triathlon from Triathlete Magazine in 2010
- Winner – Biennial Best Jamaican Community Competition & Programme
- Host – 2007 Triathlete Magazine ‘Swimsuit Issue’
Jakes Off-Road Triathlon will start its 23rd year on Saturday 28 April 2018 at 07:00 local time. It features a 350m protected ocean swim, a 25K off–and-on road back-country mountain bike and a 7K trail run. Every finisher receives two finisher prizes and locally made awards are provided in overall, masters and team categories.
Sponsors of the event are: WISYNCO with its WATA, Nature Valley, Red Bull and Powerade Brands; Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Sports, Island Car Rentals, adidas shoes, Event Media and EAASY Foundation.
Online entries are open and will close when the field has filled at 150 or on Thursday 26 April 2018, whichever is sooner.