Haines set to go

Derek Haines says he is in great shape for the London Marathon on Sunday and really upbeat after completing the first test in his $1 million six-marathon challenge in Paris last weekend.

Haines completed the 26.2-mile run in just over four hours last Sunday and is in light training now for the London race.

Response from well wishers and contributors have come streaming in on his website www.six4hospice, which hopes to raise $1 million by the end of the year to pay for a new building for Cayman HospiceCare.

“The Paris run was good, although the policing of crowds was poor, with shoppers, boarders and cyclists on the course and the spectators hemming in the runners,” Haines said in an email to the Caymanian Compass.

He added that the warm conditions may have been a tad uncomfortable for some but ideal for runners from warmer climes like him.

He wanted to break the four-hour mark and was running a steady pace to do so but was three minutes and 33 seconds over, having to slow in the logjam between miles 24 and 25.

He did not have enough left to accelerate and compensate for the loss of time. There were more than 40,000 runners in Paris, and London expects similar numbers.

“No whingeing, though, as the crowds were very supportive and the lovely young French lass who grabbed my hand and tugged me over the final 200 yards was delightful, so huzzah for her,” Haines said.

They say the world is a small place and sure enough, Haines had a moment of coincidence in Paris. A university friend of his daughter Lizzy saw his Cayman jacket and thought he had to be her father, introduced herself and they had a long chat before the race.

The 65-year-old Englishman is staying with his wife Helen in a friend’s place in Luchon, Pyrenees, where they are blessed with superb views in warm, spring sun.

There is a trout steam babbling alongside the garden, and he is relaxing as much as possible on fine French cuisine.

“Champagne and fois gras followed by shellfish for dinner,” he said. “Sometimes charity running is very hard to do!”

He is doing some easy 2- to 4-mile runs to clear the lactic acid and build for London and is hoping to go a few minutes better this time.

He flies to London on Friday with Helen, checks in at the marathon office, and then will stay at a mews house near Victoria that was kindly made available by friends in Cayman. They move to their son’s place after the race, and then Haines goes back to work, at a hurricane conference in Orlando.

“The response remains very positive and I thank the fund committee for keeping the interest going, plus a huge thank you to the media for their full support,” he added.

“We are fast approaching $300,000, and we have a few companies and financial institutions looking at ways to help, so I am very confident we can reach our target. The hospice serves all of the community, so that in supporting it, everyone is supporting themselves, loved ones and friends. Together we can do it.”

Haines added that all donations go to the fund with no administration fees or expenses taken out. He is paying for all the travel, hotels and entry fees for the marathons himself.

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