Completing a full marathon (26.2 miles) is a fantastic accomplishment in itself, indeed something to boast about, but for a few people competing in the Cayman Islands Marathon on Sunday, 2 December, their achievement will be shared with some very special people and organizations. These runners have chosen specific charities to run for, and as a result of their physical endurance and their philanthropy, others will benefit.
Erin Lynch and Jim Frasier are two such runners and because of their generous community spirit the Cayman Islands Humane Society (CIHS) and the Lighthouse School will have some extra funds to assist with their various programmes and projects.
Canadian accountant Erin Lynch has lived in Cayman for four and a half years, and started volunteering at the Humane Society almost immediately after her arrival on the island. She adopted her cat, Charlie, from the Society and boasts that she has taught him such tricks as ‘fetch’, ‘sit’, and ‘speak’.
This will be Erin’s first marathon ever. She has been officially training for six months. It was during her training in the early hours of the morning on the roads of Cayman that she was inspired to use the 26.2 mile race as a way to raise money for the Humane Society.
‘During my runs I was seeing stray dogs all over, some of which clearly needed help,’ explains Lynch. ‘For instance there was a dog searching for food that had obviously had puppies that was so skinny and also had a leg injury. It broke my heart. After seeing the likes of this and a poor cat dead on the road from being run over, I just had an urge to really help these animals. I just wanted to take care of that sad dog and her pups wherever they were.’
She starting taking dog treats on her runs and throwing them out to the strays that she came across, but wanting to do more, Erin decided to try to raise money for the CIHS.
‘I know the great work they do here on the Island with the animals, and I have been so impressed with the organisation, especially on such a small island. I know they face a constant battle for funding and they do such a great job of ensuring adopted animals are going to appropriate homes and that they will be spayed or neutered before adoption as well.’
Erin has been asking everyone she knows to sponsor her and is amazed and overwhelmed by the response she has received.
‘It seems everyone has a soft spot for the animals, even if they don’t have a space in their home. I am really grateful for all the support and find it truly motivating to get me through the run.’
Erin would like to raise at least $1,000 for the Humane Society through the marathon, and says that she thinks she has already reached that goal. If this is the case, she is happy to surpass that target. In addition she plans to make the Cayman Islands Marathon an annual fundraising event for the CIHS and will be encouraging others to join in on it and run either the full or half marathons or the 4-person relay with her.
Erin says the money raised will be used for the Humane Society’s Spay and Neuter programme, and people can still go to the CIHS shelter and donate to her great cause.
As for her goals for the marathon itself: ‘I would like to finish under four and a half hours. From what I hear it is a respectable time for a first timer!’
Jim Fraser on the other hand is happy to finish his race within the six hours that are allotted. The last time he ran a Marathon was 20 years ago, and he did that in just over three hours but this time he is just happy to complete the race and fulfill the commitment he has made to his sponsors and his chosen charity, the Lighthouse School.
‘I chose the Lighthouse School because I think that regardless of their challenges – whether emotional, physical, mental, or academic – these students deserve the same opportunities as every other child in this country,’ said Fraser. ‘I hope that the money I raise will allow the staff at the Lighthouse School to provide resources for the students which will enable them to reach their full potential.’
Fraser added that the Cayman Islands team’s recent performance in the Special Olympics in Shanghai, China was also an inspiration to him and should be to every other resident in Cayman.
At the time of writing, Fraser has raised US$38,000 for the students, a few thousand dollars short of his target of US$50,000. He says the funds will be used to build a multi-sensory nature garden for the students, and also put toward a hydrotherapy pool.
‘Cayman has been very good to my family and I since I arrived some 24 years ago, and I feel that it is most important to give back to the community in some form. In this day and age we can all get caught up in the electronic rat race of life and the pursuit of material wealth. It is important to step back and realize more significant pursuits that we can offer to others perhaps less fortunate than us and which will assist them in fulfilling their dreams. Kudos to all the generous donors that have helped so far! You will make a special impact on many of God’s extraordinary children in Cayman.’
Anyone wishing to support Fraser in his efforts can call him on 916.2858.
Online registration for the Cayman Islands Marathon, half-marathon and four-person relay is available at CaymanIslandsMarathon.com. Participants can also do walk-in registration at the Kelly Holding office. For more information log on to CaymanIslandsMarathon.com, email [email protected] or call Sue Greene on 345.946.8822.
The Cayman Islands Marathon is sponsored by Digicel, Department of Tourism, Flowers Bottled Water, Progressive Distributors/Gatorade, Deloitte, Cayman National, 106.1 KISS FM, Cayman Airways, Cayman Free Press, Kirk Freeport, Sagicor, Breezes By the Bay Restaurant, BioFreeze/RVC Rehab Services, Grand Cayman Marriott Resort, Island Companies, RE/MAX Cayman Islands, Audi, ESSO, Red Sail Sports, Royal Bank of Canada, CUC, Tropicana Juice and The Final Touch.