Marathon running is one of the greatest sporting spectacles out there and the Cayman version on Sunday more than lived up to expectations. It has a worldwide reputation for being one of the most beautiful and well organised 26.2 mile events anyone could encounter.
Elite athletes and total beginners alike thoroughly enjoy this event which runs in two 13-mile loops from Breezes by the Bay on the waterfront in George Town, along the picturesque shores of South Sound, up to Prospect Point and back. The fact that temperatures were cooler than usual at the 5am start helped prevent over-heating.
This year it attracted a record number of 853 registered, substantially more than last time. Marathon winner was Steve Speirs, a Welshman living in Virginia Beach, who repeated his victory from last year in a time of 2 hours 52 minutes and 18 seconds. Mark Hogan, izzling salesman at Cayman Free Press, was second in 2:59:23 and tennis coach Eduardo Torres third in 3:04:14 and Tom Dehart fourth.
Beth Schreader was first to finish of the women in fifth place, then came Richard Barber and Caroline Cahill, in seventh was second woman home. Pam Travers, last week’s women’s triathlon winner was third female to finish, in overall 19th place. Cahill was second in the triathlon so tables were reversed this time.
Organised by event management company Kelly Holding, race director Rhonda Kelly, said: “We were thrilled with the turn out of runners this year. We saw a 30 per cent growth in participants and we more than doubled the kids in the fun run.
“Everyone seemed to have a great time and we could not have planned better weather. Thanks so much to the entire Cayman community for their continued support for this event. We hope to continue to grow and reach our next big goal next year of 1,000 runners on the streets of George Town.” Kelly was helped by her business partner Laurie-Ann Holding (cricketer Michael Holding’s wife), Bev Sinclair and an army of volunteers.
Local triathlon champ Marius Acker does not seem to age at all. The 39-year-old South African banker made another deposit in the record books by beating his own half marathon time, finishing seven minutes ahead of Geoff Briggs from Ottawa in 1:15:49. And that came after winning the triathlon the week before in a tough encounter with Johan Heath who came 15th in the half.
This was the first year of officially allowing wheelchair competitors. There were only two but they had a ding-dong battle with Ryan Chalmers edging out Brian Siemann by two seconds, finishing in 53 minutes 41 seconds.
Hy-Tech Tigers Seafood won the four-member team relay, ahead of British Bulldogs and Road Kill.