It may be small but it definitely punches above its weight and that was confirmed by the best ever turnout at the Cayman Islands Intertrust Marathon on Sunday – and the record being shattered as well.
They came from near and far in their hordes to help swell the numbers to over 1,000 for the first time ever. Nearly 1,100 competed in fact, with about a fifth coming from abroad, a significant feat by the organisers Kelly Holding for making the event so attractive in its tenth year.
As well as the serious runners, there were plenty of fun ones. The water stops, as usual, were great and the whole atmosphere was one of celebration and collective spirit. It all started and finished at Breezes by the Bay on the waterfront and the six hour extravaganza was capped with a kids fun run and awards ceremony. Kelly Holding – namely Rhonda Kelly and Laurie-Ann Holding – along with Bev Sinclair, pulled it off in spectacular fashion again.
No wonder so many overseas visitors come every year – and the numbers are increasing despite economic hardships. Few places in the Caribbean can boast such a glorious venue to host a marathon.
American Olympic hopeful Justin Grunewald used this run as a tune up for the US Olympic trials next year to beat Scott Brittain’s 2008 record by over five minutes with a time of 2 hours 36 minutes and 23 seconds. Defending champion Steve ‘Welsh Dragon’ Speirs was hoping for a third successive win but when he heard a few days before that Grunewald had entered and realised his pedigree, was resigned to losing his title.
Speirs just went out and enjoyed himself as he always does, customary smile ever present. The 44-year-old web designer based in West Virginia had another solid run, finishing in 2:57:17 to come second.
Third finisher was women’s champion Beth Schreader (3:14:28) who was the fastest female for the fourth successive year. Visitor Trent Burden was fourth, then Bob Brooker and Paul Schreiner sixth. Caroline Cahill (3:30:21) was eighth overall and second female home and third woman to finish was Lizzie Berns (3:49:36) who was 18th overall.
Krissy Dooling won the women’s half marathon last year and was expected to give Schreader a tough race, but by the half way stage, the Canadian who lived here for six months last year, was slowing and she finished in 20th place in 3:52:38.
For once, Marius Acker didn’t dominate the half marathon, coming in a surprising fourth in 1:27:28. It was won by Jason Saunders in 1:20:55 with Abby Anderson second and Chadwick Webster third.
Derek Haines got one of the biggest cheers as he finished. The 63-year-old president of the rugby club raised over $34,000 for a new vehicle for the purchase of a special SUV for use by Cayman Hospice Care and for the rugby club’s junior programme.
The wheelchair race was an incredibly close thing with the three competitors all vying for the lead throughout and after 13.1 miles only six seconds separated them. It was won by Brian Siemann in 55:35 with Ryan Chalmers second five seconds later and Amanda McGrory, the multiple world champion, just behind.
Steve Speirs ran the first leg of the British Bulldogs team and they won the team event after Tom Gammage, David Shibli and Derek Larner completed the set. African Wild Dogs were the second team, Walkers Running third and Dalton Walter’s From the Governor’s Office were fourth.
For full results, go to: www.caymanislandsmarathon.com