Long walk is more fun than pain

The Cayman Islands Marathon is approaching and it’s not just runners who can join in the biggest event of the sporting calendar.

The Intertrust Cayman Islands Half Marathon is on Sunday 2 December and organisers are letting all walkers know that they are welcome to participate in the race.

The race route is officially open for six hours to accommodate the runners doing the full marathon (26.2 miles), making it possible for those doing the half (13.1 miles) to complete their race at pretty much any pace they feel comfortable.

“We love having the walkers with us for the half marathon,” said Rhonda Kelly, race director. “Not only do they add to the enjoyment of the race but it’s also nice to see them along the route. They keep the course populated, which is great for a small race across such a long course.”

Kelly encourages people who have never run before to try walking the race and maintains that it is an achievable goal.

“The 13.1 miles distance can sound daunting to someone who has never walked that distance before but it is totally possible to do.

“There is ample time to complete that distance and people can walk, run or a combination of both. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or how it was done. We celebrate the accomplishment with everyone who crosses the finish line.”

Eric Bush certainly agrees with Kelly. The chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs completed his first half marathon last year and he is looking forward to doing it again.

“It was challenging but not impossible,” says Bush. “If you plan to walk it, you just have to remember that it’s a marathon, not a race. If you keep your own pace, you can do it.”

Bush says he did not train specifically for the half marathon but he was doing CrossFit for a couple of months prior to the event which help improve his fitness levels. “I just want to finish,” says the 36-year old about his goal last year. “The time I finished didn’t matter to me as long as I crossed the finish line under my own steam.”

Kelly says Bush is a good example of the typical half marathon walker. “Most walkers are not doing it to achieve a competitive time.

“They are doing it for the fitness aspect, the experience and of course the sense of accomplishment that walking 13.1 miles brings.”

“During the race it was so nice to watch the sun rise, and to see all the people on the side of the road yelling words of encouragement,” recalls Bush.

“It made me proud to live in such a harmonious, warm and friendly country. At one point during the walk, blisters started to form on my feet but in spite of how much my feet were hurting and how tired I was, the support from the crowd inspired me to sprint to the end. It was very rewarding to finish.”

Bush says he will most likely walk the half marathon again but envisions doing a short jog at the beginning and at the end.

Since he does not plan to ever compete for time, he is looking forward to just enjoying the scenery and encouragement at his own pace, like Aurora Yates and Jenica Merren, who also walked it last year.

He does have some advice for anyone who may be contemplating walking the half for the first time but feels a bit intimidated by or apprehensive about the distance and the experience.

“Make sure you have the proper shoes and socks, and get someone to walk/run it with you. Franz Manderson (deputy governor) and I cheered each other on last year when we walked the half marathon. Having someone to walk with and talk to certainly helped me finish as well as improved the overall experience.”

With just only eight weeks until race day, there is still time to train to walk the Intertrust Cayman Islands Half Marathon and Kelly is encouraging everyone to put on their sneakers and get out on the road.

“All you have to do is start, even if you start with just a mile. You just have to start. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can build up your endurance if you make it part of your regular routine.”

Registration marathon, half-marathon and four-person relay is available at CaymanIslandsMarathon.com. Participants can also do walk-in registration at the Kelly Holding office in Selkirk Plaza.

The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is sponsored by Department of Tourism; Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture; Gatorade; Flowers Bottled Water; Digicel; Cayman National; Cayman First; Breezes By the Bay Restaurant; Kirk Freeport; 106.1 KISS FM; Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, CayCompass.com; NCI Services; Dolphin Discovery; Conyers Dill & Pearman; MILO; Cayman Airways; FastSigns; RVC Rehab/BioFreeze; Bliss Living Yoga Cayman; Coppertone; Tropicana Tours; Quaker; CUC; RE/MAX Cayman Islands; KPMG; CayBrew Light; Smoothie King; Scotiabank; The Final Touch; Harneys; Coca-Cola; Cayman Imports Ltd.; Cost-U-Less; and KRyS Global.

For more information about the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, go to their website or email [email protected] or call Bev Sinclair on 946-8822

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