Scott Brittain has become a running legend in his brief time in the Cayman Islands – and that is certainly not an exaggeration. The 35-year-old Aussie was a semi-pro competitor in Brisbane before coming here to work at as fund accountant with UBS.
Nearly four years on, having gone through numerous completed races undefeated, he is leaving in a couple of weeks to return to Brisbane and make an honest woman of girlfriend Sarah who has made the wise decision of agreeing to marry him in March. Both yearn for the barbeque and chilled Aussie beer culture of their homeland.
“We are going home the long way with time in Canada, Continental Europe and Singapore over a two month period,” says Brittain. “We are very much looking forward to it. The timing just felt right for both of us. It was also time to move on professionally with the US dollar unfortunately being so weak.”
There is an exodus of local top runners at the moment; Mark Hogan and James Ogden are packing their bags and Mike McDonald left a couple of weeks ago. Others may be going soon.
Cayman was a wonderful experience for both of them. “I will always look back on my time here as a great chapter in my life,” says Brittain. “Enjoyed it thoroughly. The people you meet here and the fact that there is always something socially or sporting to do is what makes this Island a great place.”
There is a lot of pride attached to his unbeaten record which took in Fidelity runs, four Irish Jogs, the Strokes and Strides, triathlons, duathlons, the Hell run, track meets and assorted others. The only time he didn’t win was in the 2009 Cayman Marathon he dropped out through injury. It was won by Welshman Steve Speirs who successfully defended it last year.
“I am quite proud of my racing record while on Island. I recently went though my old training records and I’d done 28 individual races. It wasn’t my intention to run so much because I’d moved on from the serious competitive side of the sport a couple of years earlier.
“However, a few people who knew about my running background convinced me to have a crack at the marathon record in 2007 which I beat with a run of 2 hours 45 minutes. It just continued from there. Training can also be very social and some of my best friends here I’ve spent many miles on the road with.
“Obviously, the 2008 marathon was the highlight when I beat my record by three minutes and it would be nice if my time stands up for a while. Cayman is a tough place to run a marathon. It always will be.
“Weighing up all the factors such as conditions, training volume and the number of competitors, it was one of my better marathons for sure. Another memorable moment was the UBS team winning the 2008 Cross Island Relay.
“We put together a team entirely of UBS staff and were massive underdogs against an all star line up with names such as Marius Acker, Russell Coleman, Jasper Mikkelsen, Mike McDonald and Beth Schreader in the team. All six members ran above themselves that day and we ended up coming home over a minute in front.”
Being over this part of the world, Brittain took the opportunity to test himself elsewhere. “I was lucky enough to run all three major US marathons during my time here – Boston, Chicago and New York.
“Unfortunately, I was only in good shape for Boston in 2009 and ran my fastest time whilst over here – 2:37. We also had a bit of a head wind that year, unlike this year’s tailwind and super fast times. Because Boston has such a long history being the world’s oldest marathon, I was really pleased to run well there.
“Especially as it is such a difficult course with many hills in the second half of the race. Tactically, it was the best marathon I ever ran. “Chicago 2009 and New York 2010 I was just there to ‘tick the box’ rather than race them because both times my preparation was very limited with injury. Both still were great experiences. I’d recommend to anyone if they can get into any of these three, don’t let the opportunity pass.”
Well Brittain certainly made his mark. In other sports too, including gaelic football and touch rugby.
Will Cayman see him and Sarah again? “If I had to bet on it, I’d say no. It is such a long way from Brisbane. I was once told if you drew a line through the centre of the earth from Brisbane you would hit the Cayman Islands. I doubt that is true but I reckon it must be close.”
His fondest non-sporting local memories are of family and friends coming to visit. “My best Cayman memories would be days where you and your mates grab your skies and head out on a boat to Stingray City, Rum Point and Kaibo. I’ll miss those days for sure!”