Chad Leslie has been in sports just
about all of his life. He may have tackled a number of disciplines in his time
on-island but road running was one of the areas he had left out.
That changed for the Savannah,
Newlands native recently in the Cayman Islands Marathon. Leslie was part of a
four-man relay team assembled by the Cayman Islands Basketball Association and
national mens basketball coach Daniel Augustine. The group took part in the
marathon to raise funds for the national mens team’s participation in next
year’s Island Games in the Isle of Wight in June. The Island Games are a
warm-up event in preparation for the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Senior
Championship next year.
Leslie, 27, states the race was
mind-blowing, chiefly because he had never done one before.
“To be honest I came into it
thinking I couldn’t do it,” Leslie said. “I never ran one or trained for one. I
always thought about it. I had heard of people running 20, 40 miles and I’ve
always wanted to do a long run.
“I’m pleased with myself and I was
surprised I did the marathon in an hour being that it was my first time. It was
a good feeling. The fact that we raised over CI$1000 doing it was also good and
I’m glad I got the chance to run.”
In fact CI$1,200 was raised during
the marathon. Most of that money was donated online via the basketball
association’s link www.active.com/donate/CaymanBasketball. The goal for the
team’s ongoing fund-raising efforts is CI$5,000.
Joining Leslie for the marathon
were Cary Hunte, Stephen Shaw and Rhomar Williams (who was a replacement for
Jace Ebanks). The team was number 809 in the race which saw close to 1000
people in attendance. The side finished 37th out of the 67 relay teams with a
total chip time of 4:15:33.2. Leslie tackled the third leg of the run and
jogged 6.4 miles in 1:01.11.
Out of that group Leslie is the
only one to have served on the national mens team. His most recent tour of duty
was at last year’s Island Games in Aaland, near Finland. Try-outs for the
latest version of the national team begin next month and the son of Susan Cowan
(nee Carter) and Rene Meixner states he is making preparations in order to be
selected for the squad.
“Right now I’m working out four to
five times a week until June. I go to World Gym straight from work and I
normally go there every other day all year round. After the Island Games
(assuming I can make the team) I’ll try to continue that pace. I’m also trying
to look for sponsorship for the team and I started with my employer Logic, who
have always supported me in sports.”
For Leslie being part of a large
family like the basketball fraternity is nothing new. He is one of four
children and is the second oldest of the group. His older brother is Matthew
Leslie and he has three younger siblings in Brandon Ebanks, Justin Cowans and
Nathan Cowans. Leslie states he will encourage his family to get involved in
“It’s a good thing and I’m going to
do the full marathon next year. I’m going to try to get my cousin Kael (Leslie,
another basketball player) to come out and do it with me. I never thought I’d
run it but I think it’s a good idea. I felt fitter, faster and stronger after
the run and I had more energy. I’ll run six miles in the gym, granted it’s not
as hard as the road but it’s something I can do to keep myself fit.
Interestingly basketball and road
running are gearing up to join forces in the future. Coach Augustine stated
after the marathon that there are plans to host walk-a-thons and other running
events in 2011. Leslie states he is looking forward to that partnership.
“It’s fantastic, I really think
it’s a good thing. For basketball I know fitness is a key and I think we’d get
much better performances if we focused on our fitness. With a fit team it would
be hard to beat us at the national level.”