Completing a full marathon of 26.2 miles or half-marathon is a fantastic accomplishment and something to boast about, but for some people competing in the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is an opportunity to help a specific person or charity.
On Dec. 7, runners will have another opportunity to do that. Half-marathoner Robyn Larkin is one such runner. She is a member of the IRun4 (www.whoirun4.com) online community that unites runners and buddies around the world and inspires others to run for those who can’t. It is a unique way to help raise awareness of people with special needs by creating online friendships between the buddies and their runners, who are their cheerleaders and personal advocates in life.
“I run for Kiernan,” said Larkin. “He is my buddy, and I am his dedicated runner.”
Kiernan Freeman, 10, was born in Kazakhstan, adopted by an American family and now lives in the Atlanta area. He cannot run because of chronic asthma. “We have never met, but he is an incredible boy that I am proud to be matched with and inspires me,” Larkin said. She said Freeman is a sibling of a special needs child, Nick, who also has a buddy in the IRun4 group. Siblings were recently given their own opportunity by IRun4 to be matched with a runner.
“The reason the organization decided to include the siblings of the special needs buddies is that it became clear that they could benefit from support and encouragement as well,” she said.
“Siblings are the unsung heroes. They become caretakers, advocates, protectors, helpers and so much more.
“Many times their lives are put on hold or uprooted, causing them to grow up too fast, losing some of their childhood. Matching up a sibling with a runner is a way to reach out to siblings and show them just how amazing and appreciated they are.”
Larkin, 38, has lived in Cayman for five years after seven years in Bermuda. She plays second base for Home Gas in coed softball at the Field of Dreams and enjoys yoga. “In my younger days, I also used to dance and do gymnastics,” she said.
Larkin added that she is not aware of anyone else in Cayman who is a member of IRun4, but she hopes that her story will motivate others to join the community.