Marathon effort is worth it

Scottish woman who
ran the Cayman Marathon two years ago was so slow that the awards ceremony had
to be delayed to allow her time to finish.

Yet when she puffed her way over the line she said that
of the 40-plus marathons she had run all over the world, Cayman’s was by far
the most scenic and beautiful.

A group of Italians came last year and said the same
thing. One of them even ran with a broken arm in a sling!

That is the unique attraction of the Cayman Islands
Marathon, which draws over 500 entrants and continues to increase every year.
This year it takes place on Sunday 5 December and, judging by the high number
of entrants already registered – overseas as well as local – it could be the
best ever.

That is why the Department of Tourism, which  supports the marathon, is so heavily involved
and why the corporate community chips in so readily.

In addition to the raft of regular sponsors, five new
sponsors recently joined the marathon family and the organisers are ecstatic.

“We are excited to welcome Milo as supporter for the Kids
Fun Run, Digital de Sign and NCI Services as official suppliers and Scotiabank
and Appleby as our newest mile sponsors,” said race director Rhonda Kelly. “We
are not under any illusion that we could do this event without our sponsors and
it just humbles us each year when companies sign back on to continue their
sponsorship and it encourages us when new supporters recognise the positive
impact of this event and the value that they will receive as a sponsor. A huge
thank you to all of our sponsors, both new and existing.

“The DOT has really made the race possible with their
support. We have a great partnership with them that we believe is mutually

“Last year the race brought more than 400 tourists to the
island and that number will definitely be higher this year. These are people
coming to the island specifically to take part in the race. That speaks volumes
for our country and this event.”

That overseas number is significant because sports
tourism is a huge money spinner, especially in a recession. The average tourist
here spends CI$2,200.  The Cayman Islands
Marathon is also sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth,
Sports & Culture, Digicel, Cayman National, Cayman First, Breezes By the
Bay Restaurant, Dolphin Discovery,, Kirk Freeport, 106.1 KISS
FM, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, RVC Rehab Services/BioFreeze, Arch Automotive,
Quaker, CUC, KPMG, GNC, RE/MAX Cayman Islands and The Final Touch.

For those interested in getting involved, it is not too
late because running the full course is not necessary.

There is the half-marathon distance or the popular
four-person team event to lessen the burden. Others choose to simply walk the
half-marathon and many simply volunteer for the water stops and marshalling. It
all adds to the wonderful community spirit. 
For runners, getting the motivation to start at all is often the problem
but with the range of options to join fitness programmes in Cayman, that isn’t
necessarily still the case.

Laura Ribbins of Fitness Connection is conducting her
popular training programme again which focuses on half-marathon runners and
walkers and features a couple of morning and evening runs. 

The Energy Running Club is offering a programme this year
after a successful debut for the 2009 race.

Energy has designed a unique run club workout that
consists of a six-week group training programme with in-studio workouts that
gives participants a break from the heat. 

New company PhysioSpa Clinic is presenting Learn to Run,
a 10-week clinic that prepares participants for the four-person relay. The
focus is on injury prevention, proper footwear, nutrition on race day, general
nutrition, stretching, yoga, hydration, proper stride technique and marathon

The Wednesday Night Running Club, a staple on the running
circuit and organised by Tony Watts, is a group of runners who meet each
Wednesday at 6pm in the parking lot of World Gym and run a five mile loop.
There is no cost, the atmosphere is casual and all levels of runners are
welcomed.  o there are many options for
casual entrants who want to become weekend warriors just before their Christmas

“We are so excited to hear about these running clubs that
offer guidance and support to people who are interested in participating in the
Cayman Islands Marathon,” said Kelly. “There are so many people who are unsure
about how to train, whether they are doing it right or doing enough and then
there are those who might not have the support system and need some motivation.

“These programmes are a great way to meet new people,
learn some useful training tips and prepare both mentally and physically for the
event.” All proceeds will benefit the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps and the Cancer
Society but race organisers are encouraging runners to consider running for
whatever charity pulls at their own heartstrings.

“Running in aid of a charity is a great way to motivate
yourself and push forward when the training becomes tedious or difficult,” said
Kelly. “The fact that your completion of the race will benefit people in need
is always a great incentive.”


Registration for the 2010 Cayman Islands Marathon, Half-Marathon,
Team Relay and Kids Fun Run is open online at  Walk-in registration can also be done at the
Kelly Holding office. For more information email [email protected]
or call Bev Sinclair on (345) 946-8822.