The Cayman Marathon is becoming a magnet for overseas visitors, mostly North Americans wanting to combine a long weekend away from their chilly, often freezing weather and ending the year with a great run before the excesses of Christmas take over.
Over 200 of the 853 registered came from abroad which is a fantastic figure considering the general economic situation. Props go out to the Department of Tourism for pulling out all the stops, all the great sponsors (including Cayman Free Press) and to race organisers Kelly Holding for continuing to edge towards the magic figure of 1,000.
Many come year after year and that could be the case for the Run Like A Mother group from North Carolina who all did the 13.1 mile half marathon last week.
All six Run Like A Mother members thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was worth all the pain and sacrifice to be on the starting line after juggling busy work and family schedules throughout the year. (Race announcer James Bebarfal joked that there was a word missing at the end of their name, but they are definitely not rappers!)
“We are not an official organisation, just a group of moms who are good friends from Chapel Hill, North Carolina that have kids the same age and that go to the same school,” says Kelly Queen. “Run Like A Mother was based off a book we read about moms trying to keep their busy lives in order while trying to keep their sanity through running. The motto fits us perfectly.”
Queen had run a half and full marathon and wanted to try a run somewhere tropical. She certainly had a regal time. Searching the net the Cayman Marathon came up almost immediately so she knew it was meant to be. “I sent an email out at the beginning of January to about 12 moms and the fabulous six stuck to it till the end.
“The idea of the Cayman Islands was such a motivator to us. We kept saying through all our training ‘just think tropical’ as we kept our individual goals in mind. We got such quick and positive feedback from the directors of this marathon, it just felt right.
“Did we enjoy it? Good gosh, it was a blast! From beginning to end there was nothing to complain about, except maybe the 45 minute fuel leak tarmac delay in North Carolina, but we were going either way!
“It was so well organised; from the frequent e-mails up to the event, to the airport greetings and goody bags, to the host hotel ease, to the big day announcers, the sheer beauty of the run along the beach, to the emotional ending we had with each other as we finished as even closer friends in the end.
“I can’t think of any improvements they can make. It was a perfect combination of professional and fun all the way around. So well organised.
“We would love to return to Cayman. We took a Stingray City excursion which was fabulous, but missed the horseback riding. Seven Mile Beach says it all. The fabulous walks we took and the beautiful water. Wow.
“We did have some fun talking about other places we would like to run – which covers the globe. Vegas, or another island maybe, but the Cayman Islands will always be at the heart of our firsts shared together as we take these memories with us no matter where else we may go.”