Diabetes group had sweet time

The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon has truly become an internationally renowned event.

It attracted several hundred visitors to Cayman last year, with over 250 overseas runners participating in the race plus their supporters on the sidelines.

Organisers expect to see at least that number again this year and this is due in part to a club that is bringing at least 100 runners from Canada.

Team Diabetes, the activity club for the Canadian Diabetes Association, brought around 40 runners and 20 supporters last year to raise funds for diabetes education and services in Canada.

The group’s organisers say they had such a great experience with the event and Cayman in general that they decided to come return.

“A big part of the Team Diabetes programme is the participant experience,” says Fred DeFina, the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Director of Community Giving.

“It is important that our participants and guests have a great experience from the initial landing at Owen Roberts International Airport – which included a special marathon immigration line that the race directors organised – to the hotel experience to the venues where we chose to host our team functions.

“All the venues and amenities in Cayman are first-class and ensured that our participants and guests had the experience of a lifetime.

“In addition, we found the Cayman Islands Marathon to be well-organised and the staff and organisers are easy to work with and very supportive. All our participants were treated like athletes and made to feel special and the volunteers and water stations were terrific.”

While the Canadian group was in Cayman, DeFina met members of the Cayman Islands Diabetes Charitable Trust and had the opportunity to take part in a couple of educational events hosted by the trust, including a visit to Clifton Hunter High School for a special morning assembly focusing on diabetes.

“We are so happy that the Team Diabetes group had such a wonderful time here in Cayman that they have decided to join us again,” said race director Rhonda Kelly of Kelly Holding Ltd.

“We, along with our amazing volunteers, do our very best to make all the runners feel welcome and ensure that they experience the warmth and friendliness for which the Cayman Islands is known.

“Repeat visitors such as the Team Diabetes organisation tell us that our efforts have definitely paid off. We are grateful for their endorsement of the event, and we are looking forward to hosting Fred and his group again this year, and hopefully many years to come.”

DeFina says that most of the runners coming this time around are actually first-time participants in the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon.

When asked about how he is promoting the Cayman Marathon to his members and the message that he is giving them about the destination and the race, he says: “The message is very simple. We tell our participants that they will run in a small, friendly, and scenic race where they will be appreciated for participating in the event, they won’t feel overwhelmed amongst a sea of runners and that they will be embraced as athletes!”

Kelly says the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s Canada office has marketed the event across that country, specifically at other races such as the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Army Run and Ottawa Marathons in Ottawa.

The result has been a marked increase in runners from Canada. She also credits the additional airline seats from Canada that Canadian-based airline WestJet provides since it started flying here two years ago.

“We are so grateful for the Department of Tourism’s support in providing marketing opportunities for our race and facilitating our relationships with groups such as Team Diabetes,” says Kelly.

“We hope to increase the profile of our race, and see a lot more fundraising groups join us as a result of this successful partnership with the Department of Tourism. It is about building momentum and consistency with these groups. If they have good experiences they will grow their group as Team Diabetes did, and also spread the word to other clubs and organisations.”

Registration for the 2012 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay and Kids Fun Run is open online at CaymanIslandsMarathon.com. Walk-in registration can also be done at the Kelly Holding office.

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 email [email protected] or call Bev Sinclair on 946-8822.

For more information email [email protected] or call Bev Sinclair on 946-8822.

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