Pirate runners target marathon

After their triumphs at the Pirates Week 5K Run, Dominic Dyer and Joanna Mansi have their sights set on the Cayman marathon. 

The preeminent meet on the local running calendar is only weeks away and figures to showcase the wide spectrum of talent on island. On one end is an elite group headlined by the likes of Beth Florek and Marius Acker. The newest crop of young runners all aspire to join those ranks in the 26.2-mile event, with Cayman Prep student Dyer, 15, hoping his peers can help. 

“I think I might do the marathon relay with some guys I train with – Tahj Lewis, Delano [Callender], Will [Edwards] and Tiffany [Cole] maybe,” Dyer said. 

On the other end of the local racing scene are novices like Tara Bush and Raymond Barnes, looking for a new challenge while trying to stay healthy. Mansi, 44, might be considered a part-time wonder due to infrequent runs and a focus on CrossFit training, but thanks to top finishes at meets like the Oktoberfest 5K and Krys 30K runs, the New Zealander is on the cusp of being a force in the sport. Mansi says her running ability stems mainly from necessity. 

“I’m going to do the half-marathon in December, so I’m training towards that,” Mansi said. “After running 20 kilometers, a 5K doesn’t seem so bad. There are other little races in between, I’ve got small children, so this is my break from the kids. I get out of the house and have a bit of a break.  

“I’ve found it quite addictive, I always want to do better than I did the time before and sometimes it’s like three steps back. Like this summer, I had a long, long holiday and went back to New Zealand and I came back to Cayman and I thought ‘It’s really, really hot and I’m really, really unfit.’ So it’s only now that I’m building up the fitness again.” 

Mansi has a running background, having done long-distance events back in the United Kingdom. Tackling 13.1 miles and being one of more than 1,400 Cayman runners on Dec. 7 might not be too daunting for the Kiwi, especially since her two kids have kept her in shape.  

“I’ve been here just over three years. I’m from New Zealand but I lived in England before,” Mansi said. “I used to run as a kid, cross-country, and I had a long break and a lot of bad habits. I’ve only sort of picked up running again in the last few years. I’m always keen to try different races and see if I can improve on my last race.  

“I used to be an archaeologist in England but now I’m a housewife, looking after my two small children. Having children hasn’t been detrimental, I’m actually fitter since having children – probably from having to carry them around – so, yeah, I’m definitely fitter now.” 

Pirates-Week-5k

Many runners use the Pirates Week races as preparation for the marathon. – PHOTOS: MATTHEW YATES

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