Crazies meet weight warriors

Ultra runners Gerry Martinez and James Murray, who ran 100 miles around Grand Cayman last weekend, shared the story of their endurance run with contestants in this year’s War on Weight.

The weight-loss competitors have been exercising hard and embracing healthier lifestyles during the past four months and were interested to hear how the runners overcame challenges to prepare for and finish the 100-mile run, dubbed A Crazy Idea.

They were especially interested to hear Mr. Martinez’s story. He shares a common history with the War on Weight participants as he has fought his own battle with obesity in recent years, losing 180 pounds in the last three years. He started out at 340 pounds on his 5 feet, 4 inch frame, with a size 52 waist.

He said his aunt, to whom he was close, died due to complications of diabetes. After her death, he took up walking two miles daily around a quarter-mile track near his home in Texas.

“I will never forget that moment when I was able to run all the way around the track … It was like a ‘Rocky’ moment,” he told the WOW contestants at a meeting at the Grand Caymanian hotel on Tuesday night, 29 November, two days after completing his 100-mile run.

He said that, even after completing three 100-mile runs, he does not consider himself a runner. “I don’t have a runner’s body,” he said, adding he finds running hard, but he loves doing it. He told the contestants to find an activity or sport that they love doing as that will help them stick to their goal of keeping fit.

Both men were running to raise money for the Cayman Islands Diabetes Association and to raise awareness about the disease.

Mr. Murray, who launched his A Crazy Idea in August, also wanted the 100-mile run to inspire others to go beyond their comfort zone and to run the half marathon or a relay of the marathon in Sunday’s Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon. He has been writing a weekly column in the Caymanian Compass, detailing his own training for his run and giving tips to newbie marathon runners on how to tackle a marathon.

This is the fourth year the Cayman Heart Fund has hosted the War on Weight. Each year, 10 people sign up for 16 weeks of exercise, diet and lifestyle changes. In mid-December, a winner will be chosen from among the contestants.

Mr. Martinez and Mr. Murray joined forces when they were introduced online by Lisa Smith-Batchen, an ultra runner and coach, who trained both of them as they prepared for their long-distance runs.

Ms Smith-Batchen, who had hoped to run 100 miles with them, was unable to make the Crazy Idea run, but plans to take part in the marathon on Sunday. She is also due to meet and put the War on Weight contestants through a training session on Saturday.