By Ron Shillingford
The old adage that life begins at 40 certainly applies to Rohan Marshall in sporting terms.
For a couple of years now Marshall was aiming to make his debut in the three-discipline event and a month ago he did just that in the sprint event at the Turtleman Triathlon in Jupiter, Florida. It was scheduled for a 750-metre swim, 20k bike ride and 5k run.
Technically though, it was his first duathlon as the water was too rough for the swim so competitors ran, biked and ran again. “Good for me given my swim is my weakest event,” Marshall said. “I managed to place third in my division first time out.”
This inaugural tri was a long time in coming as Marshall intended to compete in three last year but had a few setbacks; namely getting in the water to swim given his work load was at a feverish pace.
“I’ve been training for the events for the past two years,” he said. “I began with increasing my cardio through box-fit, and worked on my lung capacity through pace walking in 5k, 10k and half marathons and eventually running and increased consistent speed on my bicycle.”
Even with the training many challenges arose. For example, he usually trains very early in the morning and seldom saw the sun rise during workouts. Most of the local triathlons are held around 7 a.m. With the Chicago tri slated for 10 a.m. this-summer, hydration will be a big factor for Marshall and probably the blazing sunlight.
Completing a triathlon was not about placing or even being competitive; it’s about doing the sport in general “and my first goal was to finish without stopping.”
Inspired by the quote “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will,” Marshall added: “I had no intention of doubting myself, this goal required work and a well-placed plan. Figure out how to get there and I treated this like I treat my work environment. I prepared and stuck to the task.”
There are no immediate plans to expand his sporting achievements. “I will get back in the gym for more box-fit once the triathlon season comes to a close. I like competing in the sprints and super-sprint triathlons. This gives me an opportunity to incorporate some vacation time with travel and meet new people. Certainly, a new venture in my life.”
Marshall grew up playing a variety of sports, primarily to stay fit; cycling, basketball, flag football and a selection of track and field sports. After college, he went back to playing flag as this may have been the least strenuous sport on his knees and fitted well with his weight.
He added several other sports over the years to complement those but none gave him as much discipline as the triathlon training and his favourite cardio exercise; box-fit.
Marshall has taken a lesser role with flag and is no longer playing but now coaches one of the teams and helps with co-ed and regular season refereeing when needed.
He is a Caymanian with Barbadian parents and works as a senior manager for the Health Safety & Environment.
There is plenty of evidence that vegan or vegetarian athletes perform better than their carnivorous rivals. During training regiments Marshall will go for a few weeks with just veggies, no meat or chicken. “I believe in holistic cooking so many of my foods cooked are not processed.
“My fitness journey began over seven years ago with a goal to live long enough to see my children grow up,” he added. “I refer to this simply as for my duo (his two kids).
“My entire fitness journey supports a healthy lifestyle that will allow me to grow old with them. My healthy eating habits are shared via my social media caribbeanfoodiedad (Facebook and Instagram).”
Getting his first triathlon under his belt was certainly a breakthrough. “The atmosphere surrounding the event, the build-up, camaraderie – I’m convinced everyone loves each other and wants to see every person finish – and the mental readiness that is takes to compete has been a blessing. After one year of training six days a week at some unholy hours to finally see the results is a really good feeling. Now it’s time to set a few more goals for 2018.”