Local elite runners used to seeing Dominic Corbin’s elongated legs speeding further ahead to win a road race can breathe easily now because the champion of short distances is leaving Cayman.
The 6-foot-6-inch speedster is moving back to England with fiancee Holly Uzzell, leaving behind fond memories of their three years in George Town, especially the races which included numerous victories from one mile to the half marathon distance.
Corbin ran around 40 races and only lost three and the last defeat was well over a year ago.
His most satisfying victory was by far the Cayman half marathon last December, beating multiple champ Marius Acker into third place in a thrilling finish that included world-class American track athlete Gabriele Grunewald pushing them both all the way.
“It’s a distance I’m not fond of and the top spot hadn’t changed for years, so finally taking first place officially established me as the top runner on Cayman from one to 13 miles,” said Corbin. His favorite was the Valentine’s Mile – short and sweet with some fabulous prizes.
Hampered by injury, Corbin’s last race was the Valentine’s Mile three months ago. “I wanted to win this race to confirm, even with bad knees, I am still a top runner on island.” He did just that with relative ease.
The only race he regrets not entering was the recent Tower Run, “as I’ve spent years running up and down the Observation Tower for training.”
Acker was Corbin’s main rival and Jason Saunders was usually a podium finisher too but never really challenged the Londoner in any race.
The weather and the people were the most enjoyable aspects of racing here for Corbin, who works at Pinnacle Media.
“I’ve met some great people on the running scene over the past two years, giving me lots of advice and training schedules and, although running in the heat can be demanding, it beats having to run in a hat, scarves and gloves,” he said.
His fondest sporting memory was winning his first competitive race in the three Fidelity Fun Runs in 2012. “Everybody was supportive and as surprised as I was that I actually won. My general fondest memory is getting engaged to Holly.”
Before Corbin, Scott Brittain dominated for a few years but the dynamics are changing as the next generation improves inexorably.
“I think the days have now passed when one person dominates the whole scene,” Corbin said. “I’m sure Marius will be top in long distance, Jason in the middle and Tahj Lewis on the shorter distances.”
He sees the youngsters that Derek Larner coaches as the likeliest to be winning soon. They include Lewis, Dominic Dyer, Delano Callender, Tiffany Cole and a few others. “In a year or two we’ll see Cayman running dominated by the youngsters.”
Corbin, 24, works in IT and sees himself in the U.K. “settling down, time for me to get back to the real world.”
He does not intend to come back soon. “I won’t be back for a long time, I’m sure most of the runners on island will be pleased to hear.”
An avid Manchester United supporter, he was dismayed by the team’s demise under David Moyes and hopes caretaker manager Ryan Giggs turns things around until a permanent boss is found.
A semi-pro baller before arriving in Cayman, Corbin has not given up hope of getting a call from Giggs but sees only one problem: “I’m too expensive.”
Whilst packing, Corbin came across an old training book. It read: “November 2011, first time I ran 40 minutes without stopping.”
“Less than a year later, I ran two miles in 10 minutes, showing that anybody can do it,” said Corbin.
He added, “I need to thank James Murray for all his intense boot-camps and dietary advice to help me take my running to the next level and Anytime Fitness, including Christine Connor, for all the support and my biggest contributor is Craig Noble from Anytime Fitness. He has been with me from the start, meetings, grueling workouts taking me from a complete beginner to half marathon winner.
“And, of course, my fiancée/training partner/cheerleader for all the early mornings and late running sessions. I genuinely couldn’t have accomplished anything without her.”