Miami’s bridges made it a stretch

Cayman’s intrepid runners were in
action last week at the Miami Marathon and they did exceptionally well.

In the half marathon Cayman Free
Press salesman Mark Hogan was the first Cayman-based runner home, finishing a
commendable 64th in a field of over 18,000. (Hogan runs fast but he
doesn’t always work so speedily!)

Miami didn’t want to be the only
major American city without a marathon, so in 2003 the Miami Marathon came into

Since then the race has been held
annually with more and more participants every year.

A record field of over 18,000 runners
from over 40 countries took to the streets of Miami for the annual marathon and
half marathon two weeks ago.

Fastest marathoner this year was
veteran ultra runner Michael Wardian from Virginia. He broke the tape at 2
hours 28 minutes 39 seconds, finishing over seven minutes ahead of Brazilian
Cesar Martins. The first woman across the finish line was American Brett Ely in

This year’s race saw more female
entrants than males which is an interesting fact for single men.

“The cooler climate makes this
course a little easier for Cayman runners although there are a few hills along
the way and the half marathon distance in Miami is closer to 13.3 miles
compared to the 13.1 miles for regulation half marathons,” said Hogan.

There were 16 runners from Cayman
including Julie-Anne Pearson, Lauretta Bennett and Ben Baines completing their
first full marathons.

Many of them train with the
Wednesday Night Running Club which meets every Wednesday evening at exactly 6pm
at the World Gym for a run of between three and five miles.  

Despite the extra distance in the
half, Hogan managed to beat his personal best previously set in the 2009 Cayman
Islands Half Marathon.

The humid start combined with a
cooler breeze and some light rain in parts made this a tougher race than many
anticipated and that was reflected in the fact there were no course records broken.

Hogan said: “All the hard work paid
off though and a great weekend was had by all. It was great to get off island
and combine a weekend away with the attractions of Miami’s shopping, nightlife
and of course the run.

Lauretta Bennett said: “I entered
with my husband Dave. The morning was a lot warmer than I had expected with
temps in the low 70s. 

“It was so well organized that
nowhere seemed too crowded or too overwhelming at any time. The course was
advertised as a “flat” one but if you come from Cayman you are not accustomed
to running over those high bridges! 

“Just after mile 25 you turn a
corner and there is another massive bridge staring at you. At this stage it is
mind over matter. I told myself what goes up must come down – and it did and shortly
after that was the finish line.

“I ran it in 3hrs 40 minutes and
was 44th female to finish. I’m very pleased indeed with my time which also
qualifies me to run in the Boston Marathon. I was very fortunate to be able to
share this experience with Dave and my fellow athletes from Cayman.”

Dave said: “So much for a flat
course! Those South Beach causeway bridges are mountains when you only run in
Cayman. And the one at the end! It was humid but the cool sea breeze helped
early on.

“We had a great contingent from
Cayman. Lauretta and Jules did amazing in their first ever marathon. Here’s
looking forward to the Miami Iron Man in October.”

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