Journey to next one’s begun

The dust has settled on the roads after the very successful Cayman Islands Marathon last week but the organisers are already working earnestly towards next year’s race which takes place on Sunday 6 December.

The team at Kelly Holding Ltd, the owner and organiser of the Cayman Islands Marathon, is compiling all of the feedback, suggestions and comments which they asked for and received from some of the 500-plus runners who participated in the race, after which they will start the year-long process for the next one.

‘The feedback and support that we got from all of our runners was so encouraging to us, and as always, it motivates us to take the necessary steps to enhance the race for the next year and make it even better,’ said Rhonda Kelly, Race Director.

‘There were definitely certain elements of the event which were underscored repeatedly by the runners as areas that need to be improved, and we will do everything we can to change those things and make our runners’ race experience next year that more memorable.’

Kelly cited the set up of the start/finish line and the traffic along the course as two of the main concerns of the runners.

The overall organisation of the race, a dedicated immigration line for visiting runners and a greeter at the airport, the ease and swiftness of the Packet Pick Up process, the amazing volunteers, the Corona Light at the finish line and the warmth and friendliness of everyone at the race were just some of the many positive aspects of the event according to the runners.

‘Many of our runners have singled our race out as the best they have ever participated in, which is very humbling and also a huge motivator for us to keep doing what we’re doing but even better,’ says Kelly.

‘Some of these people have run the Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Dublin Marathons so for them to pay us such a compliment is amazing, incredible really!’

The 2008 Cayman Islands Marathon was Kelly Holding’s fifth year organising the event, and she says that she and her business partner and fellow Race Director Laurie-Ann Holding, are always looking for ways to enhance the race, to make it unique and more of an attraction to potential runners.

Recently both Kelly and Holding attended the 2008 Road Race Management Race Directors Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where they and hundreds of other race officials were able to trade ideas, hear about some of the dos and don’ts of race management, meet vendors for medals, apparel, timing equipment and ultimately learn how to make their races bigger and better.

‘Attending the Race Directors Meeting was very beneficial to us,’ says Holding.

‘We not only came away with some great ideas to implement for next year, but we also learned a great deal about what not to do, things that do not and could not work for a race such as ours.’

In addition, Kelly and Holding have run a couple of half marathons themselves. The ladies recently completed the Silicon Valley Half Marathon, and are now training to do the full Disney Marathon next month.

‘We are definitely not runners, and to call us joggers is even a stretch but we felt we should at least try to gain another perspective about the event,’ jokes Kelly.

‘We are event managers, and we approach the Cayman Islands Marathon from that angle so it has been interesting and helpful to us to be able to see the way that other races run their race, so to speak. It is all for the benefit of our event and our runners.’

The Cayman Islands Marathon was sponsored by Digicel, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Education, Gatorade, Flowers Bottled Water, Corona Light, Cayman National, Atlantic Star Limited, Sagicor, Breezes By the Bay Restaurant, Cayman Free Press, Kirk Freeport, 106.1 KISS FM, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Island Companies, ESSO, BioFreeze/RVC Rehab Services, Quaker, Red Sail Sports, CUC, Royal Bank of Canada, Audi, Tropicana, RE/MAX Cayman Islands, Million Dollar Run, Inc. and The Final Touch.

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