Acker towers above the rest

The Tower Run in Camana Bay
benefiting Special Olympics Cayman Islands was run a week ago 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 and $1,700 was raised.

Mark Browne won the inaugural race,
over 1.2 miles, last year in 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 in 14:21.

Fourth was Rupert Belll in 14:29,
then John Winson (14:37), Ward Sykes (15:03) and 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.

Acker said: “I’ve never done a run
that involves stairs before, and when I saw that the distance was doubled from
last year’s 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 stairs.

“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 minutes 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.”