The enormous turn out for the Cayman Islands Intertrust Marathon earlier this month was boosted by the mass representation of Team Diabetes Canada.
Around 40 of them came for the first time last year, loved it and many more returned this time – anything to escape the harsh Canadian winter for a long weekend!
Fred DeFina is the director community giving of the Canadian Diabetes Association. He actually stayed for two weeks to defrost.
“Our Team Diabetes programme is now in it’s 13th year and we have travelled to many destinations around the world,” DeFina said.
“In 2008, I received an information request from someone at Cayman Islands Diabetic Association who thought our programme was terrific and it would be great if some day we could come to Cayman and participate in the Intertust Cayman Island Marathon and help raise awareness about diabetes while here.”
The group thoroughly enjoyed themselves, said DeFina. It included Mapy Vilaudy, executive director, marketing and fund development and Angelique Berg, vice-president, community engagement in the Canadian Diabetes Association.
“We enjoy many things about this event including how well it is organised – one of the better ones that I’ve attended,” DeFina said.
“We also like the support from the event organisers and how they treat our team.
“Everyone connected with the event is very friendly and treats our participants like athletes and guests extremely well.
“The fantastic and enthusiastic water stations and volunteers and the island facilities, the support from the host hotel and their staff at the Marriott is great too.
“I also like to be in the finisher area to welcome and support our participants as they finish their event.
“This is important because many are emotional about finishing something that they never thought they could do, have finished an event in support of a loved one.”
There are many human interest stories from this team. DeFina was especially moved by one in particular.
“One of the most touching stories was from one of our guest speaker’s Adam Woodhouse, whose son Finn was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on 4 January 2011.
“Finn’s mother was training to run to support her son when she injured herself in training and Adam took up the challenge.
“Adam is not a runner, started his training several months before and finished his very first marathon in support of his young son.”
DeFina ran the half marathon and finished in a pretty fast time of 1 hour 45 minutes.
On the strength of this year’s attendance, Team Diabetes Canada is likely to be back again.
“Team Diabetes will return next year and we hope to bring back as many runners as we had this time – 104.”
A donation of $15,000 was made to the Cayman Islands Diabetes Association, which was $5,000 from the Canadian Diabetes Association, $5,000 from Cost-U-Less and their employees and $5,000 from the North West Company (parent company of Cost-U-Less), which is based in Canada.
The marathon was organised by Kelly Holding’s Rhonda Kelly, Laurie-Ann Holding and Bev Sinclair and an army of volunteers. They all received top marks from DeFina.
“Kelly Holdings were terrific to work with. They are extremely professional, very customer and runner focused and were great to deal with both leading up to the event and while we were here on the Island.
“I’m really hard pressed to come up with any suggestions to improve it all, very little is left to the imagination.
“All runner amenities are available on and off the course. If I had any suggestion to make, perhaps the use of running lights for the early start.
“The reflectors are great for oncoming people and traffic but do little to light the way.”