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Marketing "They've done a fantastic job getting sponsors. They brought us over to do the nuts and bolts of the race," Davis added. The Roatan race drew 103 entries from around the world, including three of Honduras' top athletes: Pablo Rubio, Pierre Kernival and Tatjana Cassanova, who placed 7th in the Elite female category. Set Up Inc., professional race coordinators, said the number of entries was especially good for a first time International event. Jeff Snee, 28, from California US was hoping to place in the top five, but ultimately came in seventh. "I didn't realize the course would be this hilly... I wasn't practicing for hills like this," Snee said. I use early races in the season to prepare me for later in the season. It's a difficult race. It's a little early in the season to have something like this. "There was a small section that had jugged rocks," added Snee, who was running in professional runners shoes and could feel every contour of the road surface. The steep down hills offered a challenge and potential shin splits. The winner of the women's race decided to walk a couple of steep hills rather than risk shin splits and other injuries.
With all that biking, running, hills and climbs the race had few injuries. Heather Szeponfka, a nurse volunteer from West Bay, treated racers as they crossed the finish line. "We had two cases of dehydration and a cut wound that needed stitches," Szeponfka said.

Spectators lined bike paths next to steep climbs in order to get a better and longer look at passing athletes. One of the spectators was Herb Godwin, also a volunteer in the kayaks and who cheered on his wife Marcia Godwin, 59, No.16 from North Carolina, who was races oldest woman participant. According to Herb, his wife Marcia competed in two Iron Man Triathlons before, but in Roatan: "She just wants to finish... these hills are unreal." (PHOTO: Thomas Tomczyk)

When the March sun peaked on the sky above Roatan most runners have already completed the race. Hunter Kemper, 26, the number one ranked ITU triathlete in the U.S. and the 16th best athlete in world rankings, came back from behind in the running portion of the race to win the grueling course in 2 hours and 5 seconds. Hunter was a member of the 1996 Olympic Team that represented the US in Sidney.
Sheila Taormina, a 1996 Olympic gold winner, came in first among the Elite female athletes with a time of 2:30:16. Taormina ranks 10th in the ITU world rankings and 4th in the USA ITU ranking.
With the success of this first Island triathlon, Roatan could become a regular venue on endurance racing calendar. The island has long played host to a population passionate about scuba diving. With white sand beaches and challenging hills with stunning vistas, the island may become a celebrated hideaway by those going long, hard distances at high speeds, powered only by muscle and heart.

Jeremy Davis, one of the organizers of the Triathlon, helps Andy Potts to find the exit point at the beach. Potts was leading in the swimming portion of the event but eventually came in third. (PHOTO: Thomas Tomczyk)

HerculeanTriathlon Try
by Thomas Tomczyk & Marcia Quinn

The Powerade Bay Islands Triathlon was the first International Triathlon Union (ITU) rated race to take place on the Bay Islands. It was touted by participants as one of the most challenging triathlons ever and is expected to become an important race within the ITU world championships.
The triathlon incorporated a 1.5km swim in the turquoise waters at West Bay Beach, between the sandy beach and the world's second largest coral reef. The 40 km cycle took riders over some of the world's toughest hills, from the Mayan Princess on West Bay to Anthony's Key at Sandy Bay. The 10km run was a combination of paved and dirt roads, with panoramic views near Lighthouse estates and Turtle Crossing. The finish line was on packed flat white beach in front of the Mayan Princess Beach Resort. The transition area was at the Henry Morgan.
Supporters from around the islands gathered on the beach and cheered on the swimmers as they pushed themselves out of the water onto the sand and sprinted to the changing area where they stored their bike and running gear.
Mirriam Hasnon, 26, a schoolteacher from West End- Roatan was doing her first triathlon and helping her team in the swimming portion of the competition. "You sprint the first 400 meters to get into the position that you want... you get into that pace and you don't slow down at all," said Hasnon. The first turn in the water was well laid out and allowed for the swimmers to sight their course on the lighthouse. This was especially important as waves obstructed the second turn buoy and the lighthouse guided the swimmers on course.
Jeremy Davis, 26, from South Carolina US, was one of the organizers of the Triathlon. His company, SetUp Inc., organizes over 40 triathlons and dua-thlons a year; as many as two per weekend. The company grew from organizing just two events in 1994 and with the Roatan Triathlon it has opened to international venues and its first ITU (International Triathlon Union) ranked competition. The biggest and most well known event Setup Inc organizes is the "White Lake Half Iron Man" with 1800 participants.
"It's been better than expected. You always expect a few problems, and so far the biggest problem has been the two sight buoys and we just replaced them with kayaks," said Jeremy Davis has been organizing triathlons since 1997. "This is our first race overseas," said Davis, "its great... beautiful." On Roatan's side, Leslie Brown and Sandra Sampayo were the chief organizers of the event working with Bay Islands



Mission Statement
Thomas Tomczyk, Managing Editor

Bay Islands Voice, a bi-weekly publication, will serve as a venue for growth and strengthening of the Roatan, Utila & Guanaja communities. We will strive to promote a positive image of the Bay Islands, and at the same time report on issues that concern local population. We will make all efforts to provide a dependable venue for good journalism and exchange ideas that would improve human condition on the Islands.
We will report on the culture, news, spiritual life, sports, education, business and provide useful and accurate information to the best of our abilities. VOICE will provide a venue for expression of ideas, encourage community programs and show alternatives to Roatan's, Utila's and Guanaja's youth. We will develop and promote a variety of journalistic skills and knowledge among Bay Islanders through our work, example and internship programs.
Bay Islands Voice will make all efforts to improve understanding and build confidence in the life on the Islands. We will help in developing a sense of pride among our community and encourage investment. Even though we are starting up as a humble black and white English language publication we will look for ways of including Spanish and Italian writing in the future color pages of our publication.
We will make mistakes and we will never be perfect, but we promise to improve with time and respond to your comments. We ask for your understanding as we will face inevitable problems of keeping deadlines, making editing choices, dealing with printing issues and bowing to acts of God.
The success of this publication should go hand in hand with the success of this community. We ask for your support through readership, advertising and contribution of ideas as we embark on this journey.


local news

The Big Picture
PHOTO& TEXT by Thomas Tomczyk

On March 18 Deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Gabriel Peralta (Guatemala), pres. Francisco Flores (El Salvador), pres. Ricardo Maduro (Honduras), pres. Enrique Bolanos (Nicaragua), Abel Pacheco (Costa Rica) held a press conference following their regional summit meeting in Roatan.
The representatives of the five Central-American States have joint in making a united statement to present Central America as speaking with one, strong voice. "... We see Central American integration as the most efficient way to fight poverty..." Maduro read from the declaration.
The statement acknowledged the need to tackle the biggest issues of the region: free trade with United States, agriculture and it's effect on the future relations with US and within the region, security of the region and combating drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime, disarming and reducing military arms, strengthening of the democracy and regional integration and developing regional infrastructure.
The "mini summit" on Roatan was a first occasion to bring four heads of state to Bay Islands. This well organized and smoothly run meeting has proven Roatan to be a good venue to host similar events in the future.


local news

Jennifer Farell, 27 from Maine cleans an infection on the head of Jorge Siguenza, 7, from French Harbor as Cathrin Avilona, 27, a translator from Punta Gorda calms the young patient. An American volunteer medical teem spent three days at Church of God in French Harbor consulting and dispensing medication.

Volunteers in Action

A medical team from Maine in the United States has come to help with the health problems of the Bay Islanders. The volunteer group has spent two weeks on the Bay Islands & ten days on mainland Honduras providing free health consultations and giving away medications to local population.
The group consisted of three doctors and five medical assistants and has provided free consultation in Punta Gorda, Pollitilly, Oak Ridge Bight and French Harbor. Their previously planned visit to Guanaja had to be canceled due to rough seas and limited budget that could not pay for the more expensive air route. "We raised money to be able to come here," said groups leader Ty Hopkins, 28. The local support for the volunteer group was provided by a Christian NGO Friendships based in Jonesville, Roatan.
"We brought enough medicine to treat about 4000 patients on this trip and that's our goal," said Hopkins. The group treated mostly less threatening health conditions: headaches, coughs, administering worm pills and treating infections. "I'd like to think that some interventions we did were possibly lifesaving... maybe a dozen [patients] or so," said Hopkins.


business news

"The event is great exposure for us," Husbands explains. "Although it's not a fund raiser this year, it's definitely a "friend raiser." Other restaurants shared his sentiments, noting that the community exposure would boost their business.
The 2nd Annual "Taste of Roatan," a brainchild of former restaurateur Diane Lyn, confirmed that music and food go hand-in-hand in the Bay Islands. Both were showcased in grand style at Las Palmas on March 9, where French Frank's Wines, the Bulk Gourmet and 11 restaurants were busy dishing out samples of their wares.
The nearly 500 'food critic' attendees sampled cuisine such as Italian sausage, island chicken, tamales, barbecue, fried pork, and beer battered mushroom appetizers. Many danced and socialized under the huge palapas until dark. Several remarked that they had never seen so many people in one place on Roatan.
After serving 75 typical Honduran meals, Juana Urbina of Palmetto Bay Plantation, took a short break. She applauded the event, saying it brings together good food and good people. "Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves," Urbina said, scanning the crowd.
Even more than the food, Al Western, Roatan Realty, said he enjoyed the festive party atmosphere, dancing and fellowship. Mary Jazz echoed his words, adding that she was impressed with the turnout. Edward Ake, however, chowing down at Burtie's Place, said Miss B is the only one on Roatan who can do fried hog properly and that's why he was there. Music included the Garifuna band from Punta Gorda, Bobby and the Boys from Sandy Bay and classical music from Ugo and Puro Sol.
As the sun was going down, a young attendee came up to Lyn with accolades. "You know, this is the best day I've ever spent on Roatan," she praised. Meanwhile, Lyn is already dreaming about making next year's event bigger and better with even more community participation.

Pisco and his young Plait Pole Dancers delighted the crowd with their traditional May Pole Dance. One of the oldest traditions on the islands, 'plait pole' dancing features a fixed ten-foot pole with twelve ribbons attached to the top of it. The dancers, each carrying a ribbon, dance in opposite directions in a wide circle around the pole, gradually winding the ribbons around and down the pole in an intricate and ever more tightly plaited pattern. One mistake, however, can mess the whole thing up, that thin, fine line between order and absolute chaos. Once the entire length of the pole is covered in ribbon, the process is reversed and the plait is undone, in perfect order. (PHOTO: Thomas Tomczyk)

Music, Food, and Dancing

For restaurant owner Carl Husbands, the Taste of Roatan represents hours of preparation, cooking and steamy heat. But he doesn't mind breaking a sweat to meet new people.
Husbands, owner of The Back Room, Coxen Hole, served up 300 tasty mini roast beef sandwiches. At a bargain price of just 20 Lps., lines formed early at his booth and business was brisk throughout the day.


Read other issues of
the Bay Islands Voice

No. 1
March 27 2003
No. 2
April 10 20
No. 3
April 24

No. 4
May 8

No. 5
May 22
No. 6
June 5

No. 7
June 19

No. 8
July 3


No. 9
July 17