All set for relay

One of Cayman’s oldest sporting
events, the Cross Island Relay will be staged soon and like many other recent
road races it promises to have a record turn out.

It’s on Sunday 7 February and will
be the 36th running of the annual event. It’s organised by the local
running club Hash House Harriers and sponsored by Fidelity Bank again.

There was a record number of
six-member teams in last year’s race, 52, and organisers hope that record will
be broken again.

It starts at Gun Bay, East End from
6am and is a traditional baton relay with each runner’s leg about four miles. The
finish is on the track at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex which is very appropriate
because the winners feel like Olympic champions.

“It’s a great event,” said Tom
Gammage, a Hash House runner and Fidelity Bank executive. “When I first came
here about 13 years ago we were up to about 20 teams. Now we’re hoping for over
60.

“What we’re doing for the first
time this year is a Corporate Cup where all the participants are from the same
company. It’s a separate prize and nice to get some competition between the
many companies that enter.”

There are plenty of prizes,
including top three teams, top female teams, strollers and corporate. Gammage
feels it appeals to all because running four miles is not too much of a stretch
for the average person who is reasonably fit.

“The best times we’ve had are from
the Eighties so this is a good time for a good team out there to post the best
ever.”

There will be plenty of teams with
humorous names. Last year that top team was Beauty and the Beasts. This year
we’ll have Grumpy Old Men, headed by Roger Davies who said: “There’s a fella
we’ve got to run who is really grumpy but has a tremendous reputation as a fast
runner and his name is Ron Shillingford!

“He’s very grumpy and already bald
which you can’t say about me yet.”

John Elliott and Rodger Yeomans
will be in the Grumpy Old Men team and they’ll all be over 60.

The Hash House Harriers is a non-profit
organisation and all proceeds this year will go towards Cayman the Carifta
Championships over the Easter weekend.

“It’s going to cost the government
a hell of a lot of money so any assistance they can get is deserving so we’re
going to do our bit with the Cross-Island Relay this year,” added Davies.

“In previous years we’ve donated to
the Special Olympics, but I know that this year the government is short of
funds. Carifta is a fantastic championship. We’ve had it here before and you
get all the best young athletes in the Caribbean competing so it’s a great
thing to support.”