Around this time of year the roads are teeming with runners preparing for various events races, the biggest being the Cayman Marathon. Journal journalist Ron Schillingford reports.
Twenty-six miles of sheer torture in the burning sun just for the sense of fulfilment. Well it certainly can’t be for enjoyment!
Not everyone runs the full distance, many opting for the half-marathon and four-member teams sharing the load. Teams, typically, have bizarre names like Three Chicks and One Rooster, Eye of the Turtles, Santa’s Little Helpers and PwC You At The Finish Line.
The sense of fun and community spirit is boosted by costume-wearing helpers at the regular water stops around the course which starts at Breezes by the Bay and does a loop around South Sound back to the waterfront.
Colombians in national costumes won the water stop prize last year, mainly because perennial winners, the Mexicans, had a break. The Indian water stop was impressive too.
Last year’s annual race attracted a record 550 and when they set off on Sunday 6 December this time, race director Rhonda Kelly of events management company Kelly Holding Limited is hoping for a whopping 800.
“Registration is going well, especially internationally. We’ve just had six people from Italy register,” Kelly says.
“We’re getting consistent registration on the internet and thankfully local support has been strong and many have registered early.”
She is pleased that Scott Brittain, the winner of the last two Cayman Marathons, both in record times, has already signed up. “We thank locals like Scott for committing early. It makes things easier organising-wise. To have that early support means that they’re committed, which encourages others.”
Some of the top running magazines in the United States covered the race last year and gave glowing testimonies. Kelly feels that will help boost the numbers.
“When I drive around the course on a Sunday morning I see people training. I’m hoping for 800, or at least 700 even with the recession. The half-marathon walkers will swell the numbers too.
“This is good for the Cayman economy. Many international runners are repeats and they’re bringing people with them.”