The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon boasts world class runners competing in the annual event after an Olympic hopeful entered last year and shattered the 26.2 mile record.
It was the ninth and biggest Cayman Marathon and the most significant pluses were 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 it into one of the most respected, well co-ordinated and popular marathons in the Caribbean. The tenth Cayman Marathon is on Sunday 2 December.
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 hopes to be in Olympic contention by the time of the next Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
His time of 2 hours 36 minutes and 23 seconds totally eclipsed Scott Brittain’s mark set four 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 after last year’s race.
Grunewald is 26 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 2011 in Houston, Texas.
He comes back to defend his title next week. “I am in decent shape. Not quite the shape I was in last year but I have been trying to train specifically for the Cayman Marathon,” he said.
“I hope to run around my course record time from last year. My training has not been as consistent because I have been busy with school.
“The thing I look forward to most about running in Cayman again is the beautiful course and they great spectators and water stops along the way. “I haven’t raced for about four months. I have been doing shorter races such as miles and 5ks. They have been going well and are easier to train for than some of the long stuff with less time to train.”