It’s time to get Off the Beaten Track

Ultra-distance running is gradually increasing in popularity as doing a straight 26.2 mile marathon becomes routine. Cayman now has its own version of an ultra-distance annual race with Off The Beaten Track.

It is designed to create the atmosphere of the world’s toughest ultra-distance race run every year in the burning heat of Morocco – the Marathon des Sables.

The unusual race was the idea of Founder and CEO of KRyS Global, Kenneth Krys, who ran the Marathon des Sables in 2009 and still has the blisters to show for it. The race was then ultimately organised by his firm, together with Stuarts Walker Hersant, with assistance from Tower Marketing who donated public relations support last year and again this year.

Krys enjoys the challenge of ultra-distance running so much that only a few days before Christmas he ran the Ice Marathon in Antarctica, in conditions so frosty that even Santa’s reindeers felt chilly in.

The Ice Marathon was just a few hundred miles from the South Pole at the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains in conditions at an average windchill temperature of minus-20C, and the possibility of strong Katabatic winds to contend with. And to make things really interesting, the event took place at an altitude of 3,000 feet.

Last year’s Off The Beaten Track race was on 28 February and through the generosity of the corporate and individual communities, the event raised over US$20,000 in aid of Facing Africa – a charity dedicated to helping children in Nigeria and Ethiopia who suffer from a disease called NOMA.

NOMA is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection affecting the face. The victims are mainly children under the age of 6, caught in a vicious cycle of extreme poverty and malnutrition. The mortality rate for this disease is estimated at about 90 per cent. Those who do survive suffer from immense distress and social isolation as a result of their facial deformities.

The road race consists of individual participants and teams of six running in relay over a distance of at least 50 kilometres. As the name implies, the course differs each year and is a complex route incorporating beach, dyke roads, back streets, and more.

For fit and seasoned runners, the race will undoubtedly be a unique and challenging experience. To make the event even more difficult, the course is not finalised or made public until a week or two prior to race day.

Last year, over 100 participants (18 teams and two individuals) signed up. Burton’s Burners (Johann Prinsloo, Daniella Skotnicki, Adam Andrews, Tie MacDonald, Erin Lynch, and David Forrester) relay team took the top spot with a time of 4:01:44. While Richard Barber won the best individual time at 4:41:33.

The second annual OTBT is on 27 February. Organisers are asking for continued support of this unique and worthy event. Confirmed 2011 corporate sponsors are: dms Management Ltd., Governors Square, KRyS Global, Maples and Calder, Maples Fund Services, MCS, Mourant Ozannes, PwC, Solomon Harris, Stuarts Walker Hersant; with assistance from Tower Marketing, Caymanian Compass, Foster’s Food Fair, GNC, Red Sail Sports and Vision Marketing/Signs of Paradise.

All monies raised will again be donated to Facing Africa. Facing Africa helps provide funding for teams of voluntary surgeons to travel to Africa to perform facial reconstruction surgery on victims of NOMA and for the acquisition of related medical equipment.

Sponsors and participants will help provide affected children with the ability to play with their friends, to drink milk through a straw, and to smile – forever changing their lives for the better.

Give the gift of a smile.

Participants are encouraged to register their team via www.caymanactive.com. Alternatively, registration forms can be downloaded at www.offthebeatentrack.ky and submitted with payment at registrant pick-up at Calico Jack’s on Saturday 26 February between 10am and 4pm.