The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon can now boast world class runners competing in the annual event after an Olympic hopeful entered on Sunday and shattered the 26.2 mile record.
This was the ninth and biggest Cayman Marathon and the most significant pluses was that over 1,000 competed for the first time and the course record was shattered by over five minutes. All organised by the Kelly Holding team of Rhonda Kelly, Laurie-Ann Holding and Bev Sinclair, they deserve props for building this into one of the most respected, well co-ordinated and popular marathons in the Caribbean.
Justin Grunewald was the predictable winner, beating defending champion Steve Speirs into second place by a distance. Welshman Speirs had won it the previous two years but was 21 minutes slower than the American. Grunewald’s time of 2 hours 36 minutes and 23 seconds totally eclipsed Scott Brittain’s mark set three years ago. Beth Schreader was the fastest woman for the fourth year running and was third overall.
Grunewald only really entered the race because his brother Matt lives here and works at Greenlight RE. “I had wanted to visit Matt for some time and it worked out that the race was over the time frame I would be down on the island,” Justin said.
Grunewald is 25 and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “I ran at collegiate level for the University of Minnesota and am currently training for the US Olympic Marathon Trials in January in Houston, Texas. I’m a long shot for the US Olympic team but anything can happen over the marathon distance and I am just looking to compete with the best in the country. I’m new to the marathon so I am really looking more forward to racing the 2016 trials and getting experience this time around.”
Grunewald hopes to come back to defend his title next year. “The Cayman Marathon was an amazing event with great people at all levels of the event. I really think they could do big things with it and would love to be personally associated with the marathon in future years.
“Since I won some Cayman Airways flights which is a great prize it also makes it more realistic for making the trip back. I just need to work out a post marathon brunch deal with the Ritz Carlton or Luca! There is no better way to spend an afternoon after running a marathon then attending one of Cayman Islands famous Sunday brunches.
“I thought it was a beautiful course and the fans and other runners were great at cheering. The two loops were nice because then you know what to expect the second time around and it gives a better chance for spectators to watch. Also, the water stops were phenomenal and did a great job of passing out water and cheering at the same time.”
fOR FULL MARATHON RESULTS, GO TO: WWW.CAYMANISLANDSMARATHON.COM