Mitten was driven to boost bus funds

Raising money for charity is a great motivating factor when training for a long distance run, especially your first one. So Naomi Mitten was particularly satisfied when she completed the Cayman Half Marathon last month and helped raise over $60,000 towards a new bus for the Special Olympics programme.

The bulk of the sponsorship came from corporate sponsorship through the efforts of Mitten’s training partner Derek Haines and Mitten

, a volunteer coach for Special Olympics, ran the first leg for DART2 and then completed her first 13.1 mile run. The bus, which will be delivered soon, will have wheelchair capability and replace the creaky old one. A portion of the funds will also go to the rugby youth programme as Haines is president of the rugby association.

Mitten completed in 2 hours 33 minutes and 25 seconds, not bad for a first timer. “My first marathon was a great experience and it’s got me excited for the next one,” she said. “It was great to have support along the race, especially from my boyfriend Campbell who was on the course the whole time cheering me on. We are still waiting on delivery date for the bus but hope it will be soon as it is desperately needed.

“Thankfully, I had trained hard so it was easier than I expected and will challenge myself to go faster next time. It was a great experience to cross the finish line running and not stopped at all along the route.”

Those who purchased advertising panels on the bus for $5,000 each were Scotiabank, Davenport Development, Gaelic Football, AON insurance, Esso, Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Cayman Automotive, Price Waterhouse Cooper, DART – together with another $4,500 from other team members and other donations from the Kiwanis and Cayman National Bank.

Mitten is putting together some teams for the Cross Island relay next month and will keep up her training so that the 2011 Cayman Marathon will be even more fun and less stressful as she knows what to expect.

Raising money for the Special Olympics bus helped keep her focused.

“The feedback has been awesome. People not only supported us with donations, but lots of encouragement as well. So many positive comments on the challenge we undertook and succeeded on. I will definitely partner up with Derek again on fundraising efforts.”