Walking a road race has become perfectly acceptable in recent years, and that is the message from organizers of next month’s half-marathon, about 13 miles.
The Intertrust Cayman Islands Half-Marathon is on Dec. 7, and organizers are emphasizing to all walkers that they are welcome to participate.
The race route is officially open for six hours to accommodate the runners doing the full marathon (26.2 miles), making it possible for those doing the half marathon to complete their race at pretty much any pace they feel comfortable.
“We love having the walkers with us for the half-marathon,” said Rhonda Kelly, race director. “Not only do they add to the enjoyment of the race, but it’s also nice to see them along the route. They keep the course populated, which is great for a small race across such a long course.”
Kelly encourages people who have never run before to try walking the full 13.1 miles. She maintains that it is an achievable goal.
“The distance can sound daunting to someone who has never walked so far before, but it is totally possible to do.
“There is ample time to complete that distance, and people can walk, run or a combination of both. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or how it was done. We celebrate the accomplishment with everyone who crosses the finish line.”
Tony Williams, owner of Tony’s Toys Automotive Centre, is looking forward to walking the half-marathon.
His wife Sharon will be joining him, and although she has some long distance walking experience, this will be Tony’s first half-marathon.
The couple started training in September using a program from renowned runner and writer Hal Higdon (www.halhigdon.com), who provides easy, user-friendly training guides for 5K and 10Ks, half-marathon, full marathon and triathlon events.
“Following the Hal Higdon program makes it a lot easier to train,” said Sharon. “We don’t need to think about what to do. We roll out of bed and just follow instructions.”
The duo’s training has included walking and short jogs, as well as cycling and working out at the gym for the cross-training aspect.
The couple say they love getting up and out first thing in the morning to exercise because it helps them to cope mentally with the day ahead. “The one thing we haven’t been happy about with our training experience thus far is that the schedule says we need to do some sort of activity on Sundays, which is typically a day of rest for us,” says Tony.
Other than that, the Williamses are excited about race day. In terms of expectations, theirs are pretty simple – finish the race and live to tell the tale (Tony), and just have fun and enjoy the early morning walk (Sharon).
There is still time to train to walk the event, and Kelly is encouraging everyone to put on their sneakers and get out on the road.
“All you have to do is start, even if you start with just a mile. You just have to start. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can build up your endurance if you make it part of your regular routine.”
Registration for the marathon, half-marathon, four-person relay, CUC High School Challenge and Kids Fun Run is open online at CaymanIslandsMarathon.com.