It may be that time of the year when everyone consumes far more than is healthy for them but at least there are plenty of running and multi-sports events in the new year to sweat the unwanted pounds off.
For the more sedate who are not looking for too tough a challenge, there is Beat the Chaser, a fundraiser for the charity PAWS Cayman (Protection of Animal Welfare in the Eastern Districts). It is on Saturday Jan. 4, starting at 7 a.m. Beat the Chaser is the PAWS 2 Mile Chase at North Sound Golf Club and there is the PAWS 5k Chase on Jan. 11.
The first race takes place on a protected venue off the main road where all members of the family, young and old, can safely participate. As well as runners, organizers welcome walkers, scooters, strollers and dog walkers.
To add a little fun and competition to the fun run, the organizers created a beat the chaser situation. The whistle will blow and everyone will start, and seven minutes later, the chaser will begin his race to the finish.
Any runners crossing the finish line before the chaser catches them get entered into the special raffle and have a chance to win the ultimate prize.
The cost is $20, with kids under 12 free, and includes breakfast and spot, raffle and beat-the-chaser prizes. The following week’s race is from the Lighthouse Restaurant in Breakers.
For the more serious runners, Cayman’s first fully-on-road ultra marathon of 53 miles is also on Jan. 4. Starting from the tip of Barkers, it finishes across the North Sound at Starfish Point. The course is simple, if long, just keep the water on the right.
Besides very brave solo runners, four-person teams can enter to cover roughly 13 miles each and eight-person teams are also allowed.
The inaugural running of this event is entirely social and support will be limited for this year. All runners will need to provide their own hydration and fuelling.
Solo runners will have the assistance of vehicle support. Teams will be self-sufficient and will need to provide their own transport, hydration and fuelling. Hand-over markers are on the map and will be marked on the road.
This is an ideal training event for teams preparing for the Off The Beaten Track event.
The 2014 Cayman Islands Mercuryman (half Iron distance triathlon) is at the Reef Resort in East End on Sunday Jan. 19.
The inaugural Cayman Islands Mercuryman, a half iron distance triathlon with individual, team and aqua-bike entry options, was a great success. Portuguese professional Pedro Gomez was the first individual to cross the finish line with a time of 4 hours, 11 minutes, 36 seconds.
The swim part is 1.2 miles, followed by a bike distance of 56 miles before a 13.1 mile run.
For those with enough puff, the following Sunday, Jan. 26, is the Stride Against Cancer. This time, it is going nationwide with simultaneous Stride events on Seven Mile Beach, North Side, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman
This annual event is always held on the last Sunday in January, so it is worth marking calendars for as many years into the future as conceivable.
Then follows the 40th annual Fidelity Cross Island Relay on Sunday Feb. 2.
The Cross Island Relay, sponsored by Fidelity and organized by the Hash House Harriers, is the longest running race event in the Cayman Islands.
Teams of six people run four miles each, passing a baton between them as they go, starting in Gun Bay, East End at 6 a.m. and finishing at Smith Cove, George Town.
T-shirts for all participants. Trophies for male, female and corporate divisions. Random prizes for individual runners.
Expect to see all the usual suspects vying for supremacy, including Marius Acker, Dominic Corbin, Greg Meaker, Neal Ainscow, Jens Pankalla, Derek Larner, Jason Saunders, Conrad Proud, Chadwick Webster, Scott Ruby, David Bennett and David Walker.
Of the women, Laura Knox, Justine Plenkiewicz, Evelyn Ritch, Leslie-Ann Daley, Jennifer Bradwell, Claire Critchley, Julia Storrer and Helki Weber will be in podium.
All information for registration and prices is on www.caymanactive.com.