One of the most-enjoyed activities in Grand Cayman during the Christmas season is the annual Boxing Day Beach Run/Walk.
The early morning jaunt along Seven Mile Beach is eagerly-anticipated by visitors and residents alike. For many on the island, participation affords a rare opportunity to see a portion of the area not visible from the road.
This year’s presentation, the twelfth, offered a unique event t-shirt as usual. These creations, designed by John Broad, are highly prized by their recipients. On this occasion, Broad depicted ‘The 12 Days of Cayman Christmas’, from a poem written some years ago by Janilee Clifford.
Nearly 200 enthusiastic dashers and splashers gathered near Hemingway’s to await the orders of starter Bill Estwanik.
Some took off full tilt towards the finish about one and a half miles ahead towards West Bay at Calico Jack’s. Others took a more leisurely approach, being aware that the race is not always to the swift, knowing that recognition awaited not only the fastest, but also the latest .Several
Dogs were included in the throng, with one leashholder asserting that his canine companion would spur him on to a personal record performance.
First-timers and repeaters expressed their pleasure at participation in this novel celebration of the season.
Many perennial Christmas visiting returnees have acquired quite a collection of event shirts over the years and proudly display their previous appearances by donning souvenirs of years past.
Marius Acker can never be counted out, regardless of the competition, and he did not let his supporters down, leading the field in a time of 8 minutes and 11 seconds.
Carl Grant was runner-up in 9:12, just edging Tristan von Kirchenheim, who clocked 9:14. Visitors Matt Rheinberger (9:39) and Wendell Gillard (9:42) rounded out the top five.
On the ladies’ side, it was Tracey Walker first to cross the line in 10:52, with Melissa Lim next at 11:34. Third spot was hauled down by Emily Davies in 11:51.
Visitor Jessica Pursley was a step or two back in 11:55, followed by visitor Sarah Freeman at 12:05.
Youngest finisher was three-year-old Jake Stoutsky, with John Weiss checking in as eldest. John also claimed the position of lastest male, while Eziethamae Bodden earned that honour for the ladies.
With a range in ages from three to 78 and an enthusiastic group of nearly 200 celebrants from 24 states in the US, four Canadian provinces, and several UK points of origin, the activity has begun to allow lots of interaction between residents and visitors.
Friendships have been formed between visitors, and also between visitors and residents, and residents have also renewed old acquaintances.
Caymanian Olympians Andrew Mackay and Kareem Streete-Thompson were highly visible in their ongoing commitment to all types of sport in the community.
The Department of Tourism has taken great interest in this holiday happening as a major sponsor, and in addition to financial commitment, and donation of airline tickets, provided a variety of promotional souvenirs.
Calico Jack’s supplied sustenance to all and sundry, while Jacques Scott quenched everyone’s thirst.
A cornucopia of random prizes was distributed, with several individual greatly appreciated contributions, and a myriad of theme-related items.
The organizers, the Phoenix Athletic Club, thanked the sponsors and volunteers, and invited all participants to return this year and bring family and friends to go Dashing Thru the Sand for ‘Lucky 13’
Individual results, photos, and quotes from participants will be forthcoming and will also be posted on www.caymanactive.com