The running scene is the most open in years because so many newcomers are testing the established order.
One of the newbies is Tobias “Toby” Muchene, who won last week’s inaugural National Trust Glow Run only months after first entering road races – his first victory in Cayman.
Being Kenyan immediately raises expectations of brilliance in medium- and long-distance runs and Muchene seems to fit the bill.
He thought the Glow Run mixed the sporting and entertainment aspects of the event perfectly. More than 300 participants entered, mostly for fun because face paint, luminous clothes and lights was standard dress code. There was a photo booth and deejays blaring out music on a stage, evoking a party atmosphere. “I enjoyed every bit of the event, the timing was perfect, just after sunset,” Muchene said.
“A big thank you to CUC and all the other sponsors who made it a memorable evening. The best part of the event was the message in trying to help someone achieve a brighter future.
“Giving back to the community makes me smile and enjoy the days God has given me in Cayman. I like to be a blessing to others, giving a helping hand and sharing a portion of what I earn.”
As far as Muchene, 31, is concerned, the only improvement the Glow Run organizers need to do is ensure every runner knows what their time was.
He is typical of every serious athlete who wants to perform better in successive events and he feels having a good set up of timing kit ensures every participant can keep track.
“Running has become my cup of tea. It’s been a fun activity to do in Grand Cayman every weekend.
“I am grateful to see all the nonprofit making organizations that have come up with all these events to help the community and make the nation healthier.”
Muchene, who works in the watersports department at the Ritz-Carlton, first entered races just before the Cayman Marathon last year. He initially did a 5k and found it so hard that spells of walking were necessary. “I felt challenged because, at my age, I’m not supposed to be walking but running throughout. That’s when I began training.”
He was soon fit enough to enter the Intertrust Half Marathon and did it inside two hours. Since then, Muchene has been training regularly to get down to 1 hour, 30 minutes.
He has been in around 15 road races this year and finished in the top three in most of them. With that sort of progress, he may soon be winning on a regular basis.
Muchene particularly enjoyed running the two two-mile stages of the duathlon in April with Ceretta Harvey, who did the cycling part.
Away from the intensity of running, a year ago Muchene started playing golf and claims to be glued to his clubs every weekend to improve in one of the most technically difficult and potentially frustrating sports out there.
His next run is the Flashy Nation 5k this Sunday at the Holiday Inn Hotel. The race’s unique selling point is that everyone is encouraged to dress as superheroes and he expects to see many little kids in Spiderman and Superman costumes.
Like the Glow Run, fun is the emphasis. “It’s one of the events I cannot afford to miss, having fun with children. I’m hoping to do it in less than 18 minutes to achieve my best time so far.”
Muchene will not have a costume but if he did, it would be the Caped Crusader.
“Batman, unlike most superheroes, does not possess any superpowers. He makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear and intimidation in his continuous war on crime,” he says.
A football fan, Muchene is enjoying the World Cup but it is so open, he says, it is hard to predict the winner.
“There is so much improvement in most of the teams which ends up giving us surprising results.
“My greatest wish is to see the trophy being handed to a team that has never won.” Not Brazil then.