For many running a marathon is the ultimate sporting challenge. Incredibly, others use it merely as a challenge for tougher events like the Marathon Des Sables.
It involves running 151 miles over six days in the Sahara Desert, across Morocco.
Readers of Jan Seeley’s publication Marathon & Beyond are well aware of the MdS. Many will be entering and others just monitoring everything in the mag.
American Seeley is publisher and co-owner of Marathon and Beyond. It’s a bi-monthly international magazine that has been out for 12 years. In George Town last weekend for the Cayman Marathon, Seeley was with husband Joe and they both ran the half.
‘Our magazine is dedicated to the lifestyle of marathoning and ultra-marathoning,’ she says.
‘A lot of people who do marathon these days use these races as a means of travelling around the world.
‘So you pick destination events and the Cayman Marathon would definitely be an example of that. We’re here not just to check out the race but to see what others would like to do while they’re here.
‘We’ve been kayaking today and tomorrow we’re going out to Stingray City and we’re also going to Boatswain’s Beach.’
They were impressed. ‘Cayman is very hospitable, definitely. To be met at the airport with a goodie bag was very nice.
‘There was also a special line in immigration for the marathon so we avoided the big queue which might have taken 30 or 40 minutes.
‘There was a picture of the race turtle at the airport so we walked right over and got served. I appreciate the spirit of the event and the effort Rhonda Kelly (race director) and her staff are putting into bringing runners here and they’ve had nice growth.
‘If they keep growing like they have been, then they’re going to reach their targets. There has been some support from the Caymanian Tourism Bureau. The better the race does then there’s going to be even more support. I think this will grow.’
Jan and Joe did the half marathon because they didn’t see the point in running the course twice. ‘If we’re going to plug this race in our magazine it has to get the stamp and we have to see if it’s a well run organisation.’
Afterwards Jan says: ‘I’m happy to have survived it. It was awfully hot for this mid-Westerner, you know. It was 13 degrees when we left Illinois on Friday.
‘Nevertheless, it was a pleasant run. The stars were out when we left and there was a bit of a breeze. The water stops were exactly as promised. No problems there. I also enjoyed the roosters. Do you have them as pets or do they just run around wild?’
She was amused that a few of them will be disappearing soon to coincide with the festive season.
‘I haven’t started really thinking about the angle I’ll write in the magazine yet, but I think the pitch will be that Cayman is a fun, great getaway for whatever life has in store for you.
‘Do the race, take advantage of all that’s wonderful about Cayman. Don’t come for just a couple of days. Come for a week and take advantage of the kayaking, sting rays and scuba diving and really build a vacation around it.’