At 50 kilometres, about 30 miles, it is four miles longer than the Cayman Islands Marathon. And because most of the running is conducted over rough terrain, as the name implies, the course is far more arduous than standard road races.
Nevertheless, as its popularity continues to grow, on Sunday the woes of sore limbs and sun-roasted bodies will take a back seat to the profound accomplishment felt by those who reach the finish line at Tiki Beach, after completing the roundtrip course which starts from Smith Cove in South Sound at 6am.
The unique off-road trail run cuts across beaches, the bush and the back roads of Grand Cayman, presenting participants a true test of physical endurance as each team member navigates roughly five miles apiece.
The course is designed to mirror the gruelling standards of the Marathon des Sables ultra-distance race held each year in the hot sands of Morocco. Ken Krys, whose firm Krys Global is among the major sponsors of the Cayman outing, competed in the des Sables a few years ago and has used that experience to help set the makeup for local conditions.
English pair Conrad Proud and Lizzie Berns were the individual men’s and women’s winners in Off The Beaten Track last year. Conrad certainly had plenty to be proud of, finishing in 5 hours, 6 minutes and 15 seconds. Berns did the course in 6:18:50. The fastest all-male relay team was the Leftovers, who finished in 3:43:24.
The fastest coed relay team was Marco’s Marauders (4:20:47). Fastest all-female relay team was Ogiers Girls (4:47:57) and the top corporate relay team was RBC Wealth Management (4:50:03).
The Leftovers comprised of some of Cayman’s most accomplished runners, including Marius Acker, Chris Rose, Jonathan Shillito, Tristan Von-Kirchenheim, Carl Grant and Ray Welds.
All proceeds raised from the race go to charity. Facing Africa, the primary beneficiary, is an organisation that sends surgeons and medical supplies to Sub-Saharan Africa to battle a devastating disease called Noma, which causes deformities of the face in predominantly young malnourished children.
This year’s local beneficiaries are Cayman’s Ark and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations.
Long standing partner and key supporting sponsor, Lynne Byles, managing director of Tower Marketing, said, “Off The Beaten Track has so many positives for Cayman – encouraging health and fitness, promoting the Islands as a sports tourism destination and raising funds for worthwhile charities.”