Acker towers above the rest

The Tower Run in Camana Bay
benefiting Special Olympics Cayman Islands was run last week Saturday and once
again there was strong support.

It was the second staging of the
annual event in Camana Bay and 131 adults competed and 15 kids in their little
race in Market Street. 

It went from outside the Discovery
Centre on The Paseo for 2.14 miles around Camana Bay ending with a sprint
finish up and down The Observation Tower.

Mark Browne won the inaugural race,
over 1.2 miles, last year in a time of 7 minutes 42 seconds but he is back in
Ireland practicing law. Inevitably, it was champion athlete Marius Acker who
took the honours, winning comfortably in 12 minutes 35 seconds. Ray Welds was
second in 13:44 and Lance Vernege third (14:21).

Fourth was Rupert Belll in 14:29,
then John Winson (14:37), Ward Sykes (15:03), then Sam Ellis (15:10). The race
between the women was an epic one and only decided in the last few strides.
Lucy Nicklas was eighth in 15:26, one second ahead of Emily Davies. Mark Soto
(15:29) was tenth. Derek Haines gave pre-race instructions and the warm-up was
conducted by Tim Williams of Anytime Fitness from 6.45am.

Acker said; “I’ve never done a run that
involves stairs before and when I saw that the distance was doubled from last
years one mile to two I decided to give it a go. I did a warm up to familiarise
myself with the course but did not include the Tower stairs. Dave Walker, last
year’s runner-up was present and also gave me good advice for running the

“The stairs at the end of the run
was a killer and I was hoping to be able to build up enough of a lead that I
wouldn’t have to chase down the stairs for a win. The race turned out as I hoped
it would, which enabled me to take it easy and enjoy some of the spectacular
views on the way up. The first two flights of stairs was a breeze but by the
time I hit the third flight I sounded like a steam engine.”

Acker, 39, hopes to be Cayman’s top
triathlete again in next month’s annual event. Training is going well. “On
Saturdays and Sundays cycling gets priority in my preparation for the Triathlon
so I started cycling about 45 mins after conquering the Tower. On weekends I
have to do back to back sessions cycling and running so I pre-planned a cycle
with a friend immediately after the Tower run.

“The next running event for me
might be the Pirates week 10Km the weekend prior to the Triathlon. The CUC swim
on Saturday might also be on the cards, I would have to see how my body holds
up in training this week before I commit to the swim.

“It was a very exciting women’s
finish with Emily being beaten on the line at the bottom of the tower just like
a repeat of last year’s men’s finish.”