The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon has become one of the most popular and respected 26.2 mile runs in the Caribbean and when it is staged this Sunday will attract 1,200 runners in total, quite an impressive figure considering it is only 10 years old.
It also boasts world class runners competing after an Olympic hopeful entered last year and shattered the course 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 beaten by over five minutes.
Its popularity is not just because the two loop 13.1 mile course from Breezes by the Bay on the waterfront, along South Sound to Prospect Point and back, is incredibly beautiful. Its overall attraction boils down to thorough organising and attention to detail, great water stops, masses of helpful volunteers and the general public coming out to cheer everyone on.
All organised by the Kelly Holding team of Rhonda Kelly, Laurie-Ann Holding and Bev Sinclair, they have built the Intertrust Marathon into a must-attend event. Overseas visitors come from all over the world. For instance, 40 members of Canada’s Diabetic Association ran for the first time last year.
They loved it so much that 100 are coming this time, an amazing increase and great boost to the sports tourism dollars.
Justin Grunewald was the predictable winner last year, 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.
“I hope to run around my course record time from last year,” Grunewald, 26, said. “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.”
Plenty runners will be raising money for worthy causes, like Derek Haines (Cancer Society and Health Authority) and Louane Martins Silva (Humane Society).
Marius Acker is expected to regain his half marathon title after turning up late for the start last year, running the fastest time but finishing fourth. Dominic Corbin hopes to finish in the top three in the half having won a number of shorter road runs and only beaten once, by Acker, in last week’s Out to Hell and Back 10k.
Back again is the Stay-Focused team from New York. Stay-Focused is a charity that helps disabled youngsters and young adults learn how to scuba dive and can boast in its membership two London Paralympics reps in Ryan Chalmers and Brian Siemann who always race in the Cayman half marathon.
Chalmers did the 55-mile Push Across Cayman on Saturday but it is Siemann who won their wheelchair race last year so it is a toss up who will win this time.
Kelly Holding are reminding people who have not yet registered for the marathon, half marathon, team relay and Kids Fun Run that the deadline for online registration is this Thursday and they should take advantage of the convenience of registering online.
“We are ceasing online registration at midnight on Thursday 29 November after which time you can only register at Packet Pick Up at the Marriott on Saturday, 1 December between 10am and 3pm,” said Kelly.
“The reason for this is that we need the Friday before Packet Pick Up to compile all the data, sort the bibs, and basically just prepare for a very busy day at the Marriott on Saturday.”
Registration forms will not be accepted at the Kelly Holding office on Friday 30 November either, says Kelly.
Instead she urges everyone who wants to register after Thursday to go to the Marriott where they can register, collect their race packets, bibs and timing chips all at one time.
“We hope people who are planning to register will do so before the 29th November but if they don’t, we will be waiting for them at the Marriott on Saturday.”
Registration for the 2012 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay and Kids Fun Run is open online until midnight on Thursday at CaymanIslandsMarathon.com
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.
It is also not too late to sign up for the free Intertrust Cayman Islands Kids Fun Run sponsored by Milo and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Open to kids ages 5 to 11-years old. To register, log on to CaymanIslandsMarathon.com or call 623-8822 for more information.