Derek Haines is a champion charity fundraiser, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for worthy causes by running marathons.
When Haines, 64, tackles the 26.2 miles of the Intertrust Cayman Marathon on Dec. 1, he will again have a local charity to support.
He has raised more than $200,000 over the last three years. The funds were spent on a bus for the Special Olympics, a vehicle for hospice and to equip a new chemotherapy unit at Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town.
The Englishman advertises his sponsors on his running vest and jokes that now he is much slower – but still does it in a respectable four hours – giving more people a chance to read what is on his shirt.
A big donor is the ESSO petrol company which, together with all of its Cayman On the Run gas stations, gave four cents for every gallon of fuel sold during an eight-week period through Christmas in the Cayman Islands, which came to $38,600.
Other donations came from the Rotary Club members, family friends, colleagues and pharmaceutical companies in the United States.
The Cayman Islands Cancer Society was presented with a check for slightly more than $79,800 in July.
On top of that, local shipping company Thompson brought in all of the equipment free of charge. Betty-Ann Duty, a director of the Cancer Society board, said that the funds will completely cover the cost of the chemotherapy unit with all medical equipment required, the nurses and staff stations, furniture, flat screen televisions and the necessary plumbing.
Haines is a former rugby player and now president of the Cayman Islands Rugby Club in South Sound.
He is supporting the Feed Our Future charity this year, which provides children in need with school meals. He wants $5,000 donations from businesses, and from individuals a pledge of $25 to guess his finishing time.
There will be a first prize of six bottles of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin for the closest guess. His fastest time is 2 hours, 59 minutes – although that was 27 years ago and not likely to be repeated – and he finished in slightly more than four hours last year.
“I hope to raise at least $30,000 to pay for the Feed Our Future summer program, but all extra will be put to good and charitable use, including youth rugby development,” Haines said.
He chose Feed Our Future because he knows Stacey VanDevelde, who runs the program, well “and the charity is doing tremendous work with deprived youngsters.”
He added, “If we can keep it going through the summer, that will be a great step forward.”
Now a local celebrity, the former policeman is recognized everywhere he goes, particularly because he leans forward when running as if he has a back problem. “I get approached all the time, but usually because of my alleged strange running style,” Haines said.
“People hoot, wave and shout encouragement or otherwise. Many times though, when out socially folks, will say: ‘Aren’t you that crazy old running guy?’.”
Nevertheless, he still sets a fast pace in blazing conditions, despite turning 65 next month.
“I want to run as close to four hours and without dying as possible. I need to collect the money,” he said. “I drink, therefore I run. I have just put in for my U.K. state pension but will work and run until they put me in a gunny sack and drop me off a boat into the Deep 6.”