Murray’s legacy continues to run

James Murray’s ultra-distance running has come to an abrupt halt as he has left Cayman for his Canada homeland after succumbing to the rollover policy.

While Murray had considered applying for permanent residency, after an agonizingly difficult decision, he decided to return home and share his energy with family and friends.

“My parents aren’t as young as they were when I left,” he said. “Plus, after nine years away, it’ll be nice to get reacquainted with family and friends.”

Initially he is not planning to return to formal employment. “My mother was down for a visit in March and I had the opportunity to share some of the nutritional knowledge I’ve acquired over the past few years with her and it was met with great success.”

She has lost weight and corrected a few stomach issues and was able to get off prescription medication.

“All this just from making a few lifestyle changes. My focus is to continue working with her while we try to persuade my dad to follow our lead. I do plan to try my hand at some online health consulting and coaching as I figure out my next adventure.”

The remainder of his time will be spent finishing his studies that started back in Cayman to become a registered holistic nutritionist and catching up with his sister, two nieces and friends.

“It is summer time back here in Peterborough (about 80 miles north-east of Toronto) so I’m sure I’ll find time to run on some trails and work on my golf swing too,” he said.

Murray built up a popular free Tuesday evening and Thursday morning boot camp offering fitness training for all abilities at the Cayman International School in his spare time before he left. It all stemmed from him running 100 miles around Cayman, aka Crazy Idea, three years ago, which raised $12,000 for the Cayman Diabetes Association. “It was my first 100 miler and the way the community came together with their participation and donations is something I’ll never forget,” he said. “I still get choked up thinking about it.”

The boot camps are still continuing in his absence by enthusiasts, with around 70 regulars. “I may not be living in Cayman but I intend to continue with my efforts to motivate Cayman to keep moving and getting active,” Murray said. “I love the island and its inhabitants and hope the enormous benefits I’ve experienced through changing my eating habits and exercise regime will continue to inspire Cayman to the optimal health it deserves.

“It is amazing that what started as a training session for myself and Neville Hicks grew to the size it did.”

These sessions presented Murray the opportunity to coach and train with athletes like Dominic Corbin, Jon Herrick and Conrad Proud and help them achieve challenging personal goals.

He cherishes his inbox filled with inspirational and uplifting stories of thanks from boot campers he assisted.

“I honestly can’t say enough about this group. For example, they made it possible to organize an impromptu Christmas toy drive that allowed us to give every child in two of the local schools a personalized present in less than a week.

“To me, the Tuesday session meant much more than just running around Camana Bay for 45 minutes. I want to thank Jeff Wight at Dart and Camana Bay for allowing 70-plus people to run around their facilities each week. Awesome stuff.”

For Murray, it was an extremely tough decision to go but he said it was reassuring to know that everyone he spoke with supported his decision.

“My girlfriend Lauren Christie will continue to work on the island so there is a good chance I’ll pop down for a visit to see her and run in the sun once the weather turns cold up north,” he said.

Murray, 40, saw a significant boost in the triathlon and road running scene in his time here. The introduction of the Mercury Man Half Ironman, the Ironshore 53 miler and Off The Beaten track speaks volumes for how the endurance community has taken off in recent years and the fact that the island’s distance events are on the verge of being dominated by Derek Larner’s youngsters shows the re-emergence of the island’s great running tradition, he said. “Coach Jerry Harper must be proud.”

Not really a sportsman since leaving college, Murray was inspired to do the Crazy Idea after reading the book “Born to Run,” which features people running extraordinary distances.

“I figured if the book could inspire me into action, maybe my actions could inspire the rest of the island like the book had done for me,” Murray said. “I had hoped to get the entire island running and, while unsuccessful in my initial attempt, there is still time.”

For now, he is not planning any big runs, focusing on sorting out his future first. He is still remotely organizing the boot camps. “Given that I won’t be working, I’ll continue sharing community events, my nutritional experiences and a kick-butt workout in my weekly email.

“I may not be able to lead the session but I see no reason why it can’t continue and possibly grow in my absence. Don’t stop running, Cayman!”