Derek Haines: Million dollar 'Marathon Man'

There’s a saying that if you’re going to eat an elephant, the best way to do it is one bite at a time.

In other words, you can pursue a massive project by breaking it down into manageable tasks.

Retired Cayman Islands police officer Derek Haines has identified his particular pachyderm, a most worthy one at that — raising $1 million to build a new facility for Cayman HospiceCare.

An inveterate long-distance runner at the age of 65, Mr. Haines is seeking pledges on the organization’s behalf, and in exchange intends to run six marathons throughout the year, starting with the Paris Marathon in early April.

He also plans to run in London, Spain, San Francisco, potentially New York City, and finally back home in the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon in December.

For those who may not know about HospiceCare, rest assured that the group is a model organization whose mission is to provide end-of-life care — free of charge — to people who are dying. In essence, that means making sure that every patient is as comfortable as possible and is enabled to complete their life’s journey in a dignified manner, according to their and family members’ wishes.

We cannot think of a more apropos illustration of the good work that the group performs than the moving story told by HospiceCare chair Chris Duggan during Wednesday’s official announcement of Mr. Haines’s fundraising attempt.
In 2006, Mr. Duggan’s father Nick (who, like Chris, is a former president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce) died of skin cancer. Thanks to HospiceCare, Nick Duggan was able to enjoy his final weeks bonding with his infant granddaughter, rather than needlessly suffering pain and anxiety.

For those who may not know about competitive running, a marathon is 26.2 miles — roughly the driving distance from the Cayman Turtle Farm to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. That means to earn the $1 million, Mr. Haines will run a total of 157.2 miles — just about the snorkeling distance from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac, and back.
And while $1 million is a significant sum, greater than HospiceCare’s annual budget of $750,000, Mr. Haines’ fundraising goal is certainly not out of reach for a country of Cayman’s size and wealth. The goal would be easily surpassed, for example, if each of the country’s 55,000 residents contributed $25.

Looking at it another way, Mr. Haines is asking for about $1.20 for each of the 830,000 feet he will travel, or a mere 10 cents per inch.

As if he needed to demonstrate any greater goodwill, Mr. Haines is paying his own expenses and, as a Rotarian, has enlisted the assistance of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman to keep tabs on the donations. Rotary is also lending its support with a $2,800 donation to the British Hospice Society, which secures a spot for Mr. Haines in the London Marathon.

Before taking a single physical step, Mr. Haines is well on his way to his financial goal, having already received pledges totaling $220,000 (including a single pledge of $100,000!) as of last Wednesday.

That means in order to secure a new HospiceCare facility, the community need only contribute $780,000, which doesn’t seem like all that much, compared to the miles that Mr. Haines has before him.

Let’s come together as a country, give him a push (a financial push, that is) — and let’s get this done!


  1. Hi, I suspect that the answer to my question is to Cayman Hospice Care but, for clarity, where should donations /or pledges be sent?

    Thank you.

    Charles D. Bush

  2. Thank you for your support, Mr. Bush. To make a donation online and get further information on the 6 marathon challenge please visit the web site at
    Funds are being ring fenced by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman so cheques made to that organisation with (Hospice) in the lower left hand corner of the cheque. Chris Johnson is the treasurer.

  3. Morning Compass, respect is due every man and woman on the face of God’d green earth.
    Respect is due Mr Haines as he is not just a retired police officer but he served as a highly decorated Chief Inspector in charge of the drug enforcement branch of the Cayman Islands RCIPS. We all live to regret losing the dedicated service of such a good man. But then again that’s how things work here in this region, doesn’t it? We have not been graced with wise people in high and powerful places who have the wisdom or the insight on who or what is good for the country, we keep siding with symbol over substance. Now that we have a woman governor we trust she will utilize the sharp female intuition God has blessed every real woman with and take the country out of the rut stupid men keep running it in!
    No apologies, you know me, ‘I have to keep it real!’.
    This is a new project Mr Haines has undertaken and the entire population led by the banks, local businesses and working middle class should indeed rally behind Mr Haines and support him financially, making sure this viable project is well funded. Good luck, Mr Haines.

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