Cherish feels Off The Beaten Track challenge is her Duty

I am a 39-year-old wife, sister and dedicated friend and a mother to four, three of whom are under the age of 10.

I work full time at KRyS Global and have always loved sports, but I am not really all that athletic. My pursuit of fitness is driven by the desire to lead by example and pass a healthy lifestyle on to my children.

Also, I have noticed that runners typically have great bodies, something to strive for.

In February 2012, a tiny seed was planted in the back of my mind which turned into a goal for the following year.

I wanted to complete one leg of Off the Beaten Track 2013 without stopping or walking along the way and also not to get lost.

This annual run is hosted by KRyS Global and Off the Beaten Track is a one-of-a-kind endurance run. It is not your typical road race.

Off the Beaten Track takes you off road through the bush, on the beach, along dyke roads and canals. The course is kept top secret until one week before the race to test the skills of even the most seasoned runners.

This year’s run is on Sunday 24 February and involves relay teams of six running over a distance of about 50 kilometres, or 31 miles.

Proceeds from the race are split and go to support Facing Africa, a charity which aids sufferers of NOMA, an evil disease that affects young children in Africa, and two local charities close to my heart, Cayman’s ARK and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations.

I first thought that this would be an amazing challenge to undertake last year, while handing out trophies and prizes to participants. As I looked at each of the runners completing the race, I thought I can do this and will do it next year.

Time passed and my resolve to participate in the gruelling run didn’t diminish but time played tricks on me and before I knew it, the New Year was knocking at my door and hadn’t done a thing to prepare except a lot of talking.

A quick download to my iPod of the Couch to 5K app (C25K) and I was in business. That didn’t mean that my training had taken off, only that I was one step closer. It’s not easy, but, here’s how I am doing it.

First things first. Prepare everything the night before and lay it out so that you don’t have to fumble for it in the morning. I’ve found that it only takes one small excuse to keep me from running so I try to become ‘excuse proof’.

My kids are the easiest excuse for not being able to run, even though I want to show them that it’s important to take care of yourself. With the help and encouragement of my husband, I vow not to use them as a reason not to run anymore.

I wake up early in the morning, not because I want to – trust me, I am not a morning person – but because I have to make time in my busy schedule to run.

My husband stays home with his morning coffee and the kids. I’m up at 6.10am and outside by 6.15am. If I need to get up earlier to run longer, I will. This is my time and I’m going to use every second I can.

It’s easy to stop running, too easy. When I‘m running, I try and remember that there are millions of runners in this world and I’m not the first person to run this far and I can keep going.

Runner Cherish Duty is writing a weekly column for the Caymanian Compass on her preparations for the Off the Beaten Track run. Next week, she’ll describe her day by day running routine.