Gerry ready to run

Gerry Robinson will be the first to tell you that she is no runner. Yet this 40-year old Caymanian from West Bay intends to compete in her very first marathon come Sunday, 6 March when the Cingular Wireless Cayman Islands Marathon takes place.

Why would this self-proclaimed non-runner sign up to run 26.2 miles? In Gerry’s own words: a challenge.

‘I’ve run three half-marathons (13.1 miles), the first one being the Cayman Islands Half-Marathon in December 2003, and although I enjoy that distance, I thought I’d be bored the fourth time around,’ Gerry explains. ‘That’s why two days after registering for this year’s half-marathon, I decided that if time would allow, and my knees permit, I would go for the full thing.’

And so Gerry’s journey began. She found a training schedule at www.runnersworld.com and began training on January 3rd. On some occasions this meant getting out on the road as early as 4am to beat the heat, or just to get to work on time. In addition to running, Gerry also did weight training and underwent nutrition consultations with Carla Yee Sing and Tara Trickett at World Gym.

To date, the longest run this mother of three has completed is 20 miles, which she says is the longest distance recommended in the schedule. Her goal for the Cingular Wireless Cayman Islands Marathon is to finish in 4½ hours, but ultimately to finish.

‘I’ve been running ‘seriously’ for three years now. Prior to that, I had never set a goal in running. I didn’t compete because I was afraid of finishing last and having my name published in the papers to that effect,’ jokes Gerry.

Gerry says that she is often inspired by the words of author Robert Louis Stephenson who said, ‘Everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.’

‘People always say to me, ‘You’re so good. I couldn’t run one mile,’ but the fact is that when I first started, I couldn’t run a mile either,’ Gerry reminisces. ‘It didn’t just happen for me. It required a lot of hard work and discipline.’

Gerry hopes to be an inspiration to others, and not necessarily in the area of sports.

However, her advice to anyone who may be considering running a marathon, half-marathon or four-person relay is simple. ‘Follow a sensible training programme, run your own race, and most of all, have fun.’

She plans to do just that on Sunday, 6 March, and she hopes to have some company. Her brother, veteran runner Mark Hydes, who was the 2nd place finisher in the 2003 Cayman Islands Marathon, is considering making the 26.2-mile trek again this year.

‘Mark is such a big inspiration to me and very supportive,’ says Gerry. ‘I do not possess his athletic ability and have no intention of trying to follow in his footsteps but it is nice to have someone in the family who shares this interest with me.’

Registration is still open for the Cingular Wireless Cayman Islands Marathon, Half-Marathon and 4-person relay. For more information, log on to www.CaymanIslandsMarathon.com or call 525 8822.

Anyone who wants to come out and cheer Gerry on can do so at the start/finish line, located at Breezes by the Bay Restaurant on the waterfront, which is the Official Party Zone and will open at 4:30am on race day.

The Cingular Wireless Cayman Islands Marathon is presented by Texaco and sponsored by Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Cayman Airways, Z99, Breezes by the Bay Restaurant, Flowers Bottled Water, Cayman National, Gatorade, The Final Touch, KPMG and CUC.