Krys run broke new ground

The recent Off the Beaten Track run
broke new ground for running events in Cayman.

With a unique course that shunned
the regular road-based running in favour of the beach, trails and back streets,
the event was a challenge to participants and organisers alike.

“We showed some people new parts of
the Island, some of which maybe they didn’t want to see,” laughed organiser
Bill Fleury.

The event was the brainchild of Ken
Krys, who wanted to create an event to mirror the experience of the Marathon
des Sables, a run through the Sahara desert in which Krys participated last

A number of teams participated in
the relay, along with two runners, Krys and Richard Barber, who completed the
entire 50-odd kilometre course on their own.

Any new event has growing pains. If
that event happens to be a complicated cross country relay those challenges are

“Ken set the course three to four
months ago probably. I went and scoped it out and two places on the course,
that were clear and passable three or four weeks ago, had new fences on them,”
said Fleury.

Race morning also saw a Nor’wester
blowing in, causing massive waves to crash onto Seven Mile Beach. The events
started at Public Beach and runners occasionally found themselves running
through knee-deep water as they searched for a more firm footing. The route had
to be changed in haste when it became clear it would be impossible to follow
the coastline all the way through to Treasure Island as originally intended.

“The whole nature of the thing is a
bit more adventurous. Just some guys who decided to do something crazy. So it’s
a little bit more casual, not so formal and mechanised,” said Fleury.

There were also challenges for the
volunteers, as many of them were not familiar with the hidden spots where they
would have to guide runners.

“It was difficult to say go to some
obscure corner and sit in a lawn chair there for three hours. The point was to
keep people from cutting the corner and check whether the runner was OK to
continue. Fortunately we had no injuries,” said Fleury.

The first team home was Burton’s
Burners, finishing in 4:01:44, with Barclays Wealth finishing a mere 2:15
behind for second place. The Ritz Runners came in third, 1:40 down. The Cayman
Islands Cadet Corps also had a team in the event, finishing in sixth place. A
total of 18 teams completed the event.

Richard Barber was the first
individual runner home in 4:41:33, followed by Ken Krys.

The event concluded with a
post-race barbecue on the beach.

“People appreciated that it was
something different to do on the Island, as you have so many similar events,”
said Fleury.

“I’ve gotten some really nice
feedback about it. People are asking if it will be again next year and the
intention is to run it again next year.”

The event served as a fundraiser
for Facing Africa, a charity that raises money to combat NOMA, a flesh-eating
disease, in Africa. Approximately US$21,000 was raised for the charity through
sponsorship and entry fees.

In order to spread the goodwill
around, the organisers have donated the remaining event running shirts to the
NCVO, Red Cross and Cayman Islands Humane Society to be sold through their
respective stores and in so doing raise funds for local charities as well.

The event was sponsored by Krys
& Associates, Stuarts, Tower, Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, dms,
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ogier, MCS, Close Brothers, Governors Square,
Progressive Distributors, Mourant, GNC, Barclays Wealth, Maples, Digicel and