Jon Rankin made a triumphant return to international racing after years of illness and injury and now feels confident that the Cayman Islands will see the best of him.
Rankin, 30, ran for the United States until a few years ago but through his parents being Caymanian he now competes under the Cayman flag.
Victory in the Cayman Islands Intertrust Marathon on Sunday confirmed his return. He won in 2 hours 43 minutes and 09 seconds.
Welshman Steve Speirs, winner of this 26.2 mile race in 2009 and 2010, was second in 3:03:37. His Scottish wife Ally ran the half marathon, as usual. Speirs also ran a leg of the British Bulldogs team that ran 2:52:00 which broke the record.
Canadian Geoff Riggs was third in 3:05:19.
Speirs said: “I was really happy with the second place. Last year I was second too so to come back and come second although I was a little slower, is fantastic.
“We’re here for 10 days. We stayed at the Marriott for a couple of days before moving to the Reef Resort in East End for the week.
“We’re coming back to the Marriott this weekend and will be running the Jingle Bell event on Sunday.
“This event is always a great race, very similar to last year. Water stops were fantastic, volunteers tremendous. They put on a first class event. The personalised bibs helped. People were calling my name and saying welcome back.
“They were also shouting ‘go Bulldogs’ because I was on the relay team as well.”
Ally said: “I had a good time too. My time in the half was 2:01 which was my fastest time of the four times here.” Active Ally ran a full marathon only three weeks ago and is doing another one next month.
“I suffered here from the heat a bit, but it was great. I loved the water stops. Everything is fantastic about the race.
“It was only 36 degrees Fahrenheit in Virginia (where they live) when we left on Friday. Very cold, frost all over the cars. This is a lovely break. I’m looking forward to getting in the water and snorkelling.
“It’s also great to see people that we’ve got to know coming back here.”
Beth Schreader was fourth overall and won her fifth title under her new name of Florek having got married to Dan two days earlier. Marius Acker regained his half marathon title, winning it for the sixth time in seven attempts.
The customary wheelchair race was another tight one between Ryan Chalmers and Brian Siemann. They did the 13.1 mile course at breakneck speed and finished only 0.6 seconds apart. Chalmers got revenge on Siemann for beating him last year by winning in 55 minutes and 52 seconds.
Rhonda Kelly, race director, said: “Ryan and Brian are lovely young men, they really are. We loved having them. They are both now Paralympic athletes which is really good to have in our event and I do hope they’ll continue to come because we love having them.”
The wheelchair athletes want to compete in a full marathon but that is not logistically possible.
“The challenge with that is because we have a looped course,” Kelly said. “If we were out and back it would be different. Because we’re a looped course what happens is that you’re going to have wheelchairs in the road moving around runners. It is really is about safety concerns and we just need to make sure we tackle that before we can commit to doing a full.”
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