The Cayman Marathon attracted over 200 overseas runners here last week and judging by the response, from many of them, this annual event is going to be a permanent fixture. A record total of 853 registered so the organisers, Kelly Holding, are edging towards that magic 1,000 mark rapidly.
Race directors were Rhonda Kelly and Laurie-Ann Holding. Events manager was Bev Sinclair always does a marvellous job of keeping the media fully informed.
The most obvious visitor was none other than the marathon winner, Steve Speirs, who successfully defended the title won in 2009. Speirs, 44, a Welshman living in Virginia Beach, travelled, as usual, with wife Allyson who did the half marathon herself.
They have every intention of being at next year’s one, not only because Steve wants to notch a hat-trick but because they absolutely love the whole Cayman Marathon vibe and the Island itself.
Allyson will definitely be running in the future too,” Steve said. “Although an accomplished marathon runner in her own right, I’m sure she’ll stick to the half marathon distance in Grand Cayman – far more manageable in the tropical climate.
“The East End of the island is a perfect get-away-from-it-all location. After a busy year at work and the typical life challenges most families experience, it’s really nice to be able to relax on a gorgeous island with a beautiful climate. We first visited Grand Cayman in 2003 and have enjoyed coming back ever since. Of course, the marathon win is a huge bonus, but we’d still make this our vacation destination regardless of the race.”
Australian Marathon Man Tristan Miller completed his 50th marathon in his mission to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks and raise money for UNICEF and Facing Africa, Biggest group was the 70-odd out of Canada who ran to raise funds for The Arthritis Society and other charities. Two running clubs, Joints In Motion and Run ‘N Fun out of Canada, all had a blast.
One of them Mark Trenton did his 23rd marathon in honour of his 16-year old daughter who was diagnosed with arthritis at seven, and has raised over $50,000 for the Arthritis Society.
Canadians Owen and Ingrid Barnes celebrated their honeymoon and completed the half marathon together and Noel Tucker from Oklahoma did only her second marathon, having completed her first one exactly 30 years previously. She wanted the Cayman Islands to be her second long run and she brought her husband, daughter, sister and in-laws along for the fun.
The Run Like a Mother group of six from North Carolina also had a blast. They all registered in January and spent the rest of the year juggling hectic work and family schedules to train for the half marathon.
The wheelchair half marathon category was for the first time official and past participants Ryan Chalmers and Brian Siemann came back to celebrate the opportunity.
The Cayman Islands Marathon was sponsored by Department of Tourism, Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture, Gatorade, Flowers Bottled Water, Digicel, Cayman National, Cayman First, Breezes By the Bay Restaurant, CayCompass.com, Kirk Freeport, 106.1 KISS FM, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Dolphin Discovery, Milo, BioFreeze/RVC Rehab Services, Digital de Sign, NCI Services, GNC, Quaker, CUC, Arch Automotive, KPMG, Appleby, Scotiabank, Island Heritage Insurance, RE/MAX Cayman Islands and The Final Touch.
“I truly love the feel of the Cayman Marathon,” said Speirs. “So many of the other races seem to focus on the quantity rather than the quality. I love the fact that you can park your vehicle within 100 metres of the start/finish area and everything is right there.
“Naturally, the course is more beautiful than any other I’ve run and the enthusiasm of the spectators and volunteers is hard to match too. The Cayman marathon is great value, runs like clockwork and combined with a wonderful vacation location, is a perfect way to round off the year.”
He has lived in the US since 2001 and works as a front end web site developer for a print and promotional marketing materials company based in Dayton, Ohio is his day job. He also maintains numerous web sites for various clients his down time.
The couple have one daughter, Shannon Ralston, 21, who is a senior in college and also a runner.
Shannon ran track and cross country in high school, reaching several state championships and was also a member of the college team for a couple of years too. So running is very much a lifestyle choice in the Speirs’ household. Shannon will graduate in May and is passionate about becoming an elementary school teacher.
Steve adds: “I created a web site a couple of years ago (www.hundredpushups.com) which took off instantly and has been a huge success. A California-based publisher approached me to write a book, so I’m also a proud published author too.
The 100 Push-Ups iPhone app is also one of the most popular in the health and fitness section of the Apple iTunes App Store.”