Santa loved the Jingle Bell run

After the exertions of the Cayman Marathon this weekend, a welcome, gentler road run is the ever popular Jingle Bell Run/Walk the following week.

It takes place on Sunday 9 December and gets everyone into the Christmas spirit, although the jingling you hear might not be from the sleigh bells, but from the money raised for the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

Now in its 10th year, the Jingle Bell walk/run starts at a new venue to provide participants with an even better experience. It is now from The Grand Caymanian in Crystal Harbour, providing more pleasant roads to run or walk with improved safety for all participants.

“The money we raise each year goes directly to support the Centre’s 24-Hour Emergency Shelter for women and their children who are victims of domestic abuse and/or sexual assault,” says event organiser Alison Clark.

Last year’s event was the most successful yet, with over 400 participants and almost $50,000 raised for the Crisis Centre.

The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre is a charitable organisation that provides safe, temporary shelter and a supportive environment for abused women and their children as well as community education programmes about domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The crisis centre offers counselling, education, support, and community resources for women and their children who use our services. Since opening the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre in March 2003, we have provided emergency shelter for more than 400 women and their children.

The entry fee is $25, with children under 12 participating for free. The event includes full breakfast on the beach, a raffle for the many great prizes up for grabs, and a free T-shirt for the first 300 participants to register.

Registration is on Saturday 1 December at AL Thompson’s, Foster’s Strand and Cost U Less from 9am to 5pm, as well as on Saturday 8 December at Foster’s Strand and Cost U Less, again from 9am to 5pm. Online registration is also available through caymanactive.com.

Steve Speirs won the local marathon in 2009 and the following year but conceded to super-fast Justin Grunewald last year. But Grunewald was nowhere to be seen at lasts year’s Jingle Bell 5k and 10k. He must have heard of the mysterious late entry who had come in with his entourage of reindeers and sleigh.

Speirs was confident of victory – until he saw a certain character in a red suit who had entered only as Mr Claus.

“Santa was definitely the guy to keep an eye on at the start line,” Speirs said. “I managed to get ahead early on and thankfully was able to hold him off. I think the secret was not to look back and check where he was.”

Despite the Santa scare, Speirs and wife Ally, who had run the half marathon the previous week, thoroughly enjoyed the Jingle Bell event. The couple live in Virginia and will be here again for the marathon and Jingle Bell run.

Steve said: “The Jingle Bell run last year was a lot of fun, and a great way to end our holiday. The 5k was probably all my legs could handle so soon after the marathon.”

Ally said: “the Jingle Bell run was fantastic. Great friendly bunch of runners and it was nice to hear people cheering for us by name. We only did the 5k because I don’t run well in the heat.”

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