Hawaii kicks off 2005 world cup series
The world’s finest triathletes are returning to Honolulu, and this time, Hawai’i's Tim Marr will be joining them in Saturday’s Honolulu International Triathlon Union World Cup in Waikiki.
“It’s the biggest race I’ve ever done, and probably the biggest race I’ll ever do,” said Marr, 26, who has dominated Hawai’i triathlons recently, winning seven of nine last year, including the Honolulu Triathlon and the Honu Triathlon. “It’s like being a University of Hawai’i football player and they call you saying, ‘Why don’t you play in the Super Bowl in Jacksonville.’ It’s like, ‘wow!’ “
Marr received an exemption to compete in the Honolulu World Cup. He and Matt Seymour, 20, will be the only Hawai’i competitors in the race that features several of the world’s top professional men and women triathletes, including men’s Olympic gold medal winners Hamish Carter of New Zealand (2004) and Simon Whitfield of Canada (2000).
The women’s race starts at 9 a.m. at Waikiki Beach, followed by the men at 11:30 a.m.
Last year, more than 55,000 spectators watched the United States Olympic Team Trials Triathlon in Waikiki, according to organizers.
Saturday’s course consists of two 750-meter swim loops off Waikiki Beach, five bike loops from Kapi’olani Park to around Diamond Head, including the climb up Kilauea Avenue, and four run loops on Kalakaua Avenue from Kapi’olani Park to Ka’iulani Avenue and back to the park.
Marr this month trained with the Canadian national team and gold medalist Whitfield. Marr said he’s anxious to meet the star-studded, 75-man field at the Honolulu World Cup.
“I’m definitely going to be awestruck,” said Marr, a graduate of Mililani High School and Hawai’i-Hilo, where he was an all-conference cross country runner. “I’ve trained as hard as I can. I’ve prepared really hard. I hope it’s good enough. Right now it’s a big honor to race with those guys.”
Marr said he’s been training 20 to 25 hours a week in preparation. He swims 15 miles, runs 40 miles and bikes 12 to 15 hours a week.
“He has tremendous ability to stay focused and train harder than any athlete I’ve ever seen,” said friend Raul “Boca” Torres, who runs Boca Hawai’i, a multi-sport training group, and also teaches triathlon techniques with Marr. “He loves what he’s doing. He really has a passion for it.”
The top triathletes will likely finish Saturday’s race in less than two hours, according to race director John Korff. The race is part of the International Triathlon Union world cup series that includes 14 World Cup races around the world. The Honolulu race is the only one in America.
In preparation for the World Cup, Marr has practiced several training scenarios. One such scenario has him riding with groups of bikers to acclimate himself to the draft-legal race.
“They ride very close to each other so he gets used to the jostling within a pack.
In addition, Marr has a friend who “rides a motorcycle at 40 mph” with Marr furiously pedaling in close pursuit.
“Tim’s a very neat guy,”. “He’s just a normal guy; he just happens to be really fast.”
Marr, who participated in the Waikiki Roughwater Swim when he was 6, has also practiced swimming scenarios.
“He’s always been in the front of all his races, but these guys are Olympians - He’s been practicing swimming with other people swimming on top of him almost, so he gets used to swimming in a congested area.”
One of the toughest biking sections of Saturday’s race is the Kilauea Avenue hill, which runs behind Kapi’olani Community College. Bikers must ascend the steep hill five times. Riders must be relaxed, but push hard enough to stay with the pack, Marr said.
“It’s a real wicked climb,” Marr said. “You have to be controlled and have success riding that hill.”
Marr said he’s trained nearly half a year for this race, and he hopes to finish with a strong performance.
“It’s going to be a learning experience,” Marr said. “I don’t want any mistakes. Placing-wise, I can’t really say. I’m just going to give my 100 percent.”
Reach Brandon Masuoka at firstname.lastname@example.org