There will be no shortage of excitement when the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half-Marathon and 4-Person Relay is staged on Sunday.
Most attention will be focused on Derek Haines completing his Six4Hospice $1 million marathon journey. He has already raised $900,000 and fully expects to reach the magic figure when he crosses the line just after his projected time at 9 a.m.
Running celebrity Bart Yasso is in Cayman for the first time motivating runners, and a new youth relay category that has the potential to produce the overall fastest team will also be highlights of the event.
Added to that, five-time marathon champion Beth Florek returns after taking a year’s break to have a baby, and there will be the usual speculation about who will take the top spots in all categories.
It all starts at 5 a.m. in front of Breezes by the Bay restaurant on the waterfront. The public is invited to come out and support this event, which raises money for the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps and the Cancer Society, as well as other organizations.
From Breezes, the route goes along South Church Street, South Sound and Old Prospect Road, before turning around and going back through South Sound and then onto Walkers and Hospital roads, Elgin Avenue, Edward and Fort streets and back to Breezes.
As of press time, organizers Kelly Holding confirmed that there were 118 full marathoners, with 630-plus individuals registered to participate in the half-marathon, and 85-plus teams entered for the relay.
With the usual flurry of last-minute entries to come, that should boost the numbers by 100 the day before the race. The race attracted 1,300 runners in 2013 and is expected to exceed that this year, its 12th staging.
The Kids Fun Run, sponsored by MILO and the Ministry of Health, Youth, Sports & Culture, will start at 10:30 a.m. at the new Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue and end at the Breezes by the Bay finish line.
This event is free for students between the ages of 5 and 11 and is expected to draw more than 250 kids.
The top three male and female marathoners and half-marathoners in the 29 and under, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and over age categories will be awarded for their achievements.
The top three teams in the corporate, all-male, all-female and mixed team events will also receive awards.
New this year is the CUC High School Challenge, which will see four teams of teenagers compete. Paralympians Brian Siemann and Ryan Chalmers, who have competed in the wheelchair half-marathon event since it was introduced in 2008, will compete again.
Another element that has gained popularity each year is the Water Stop Challenge – sponsored this year by Cayman Airways – in which volunteers vie for runners’ votes and the chance to be lauded as the most exciting, enthusiastic, supportive water station.
With water stop themes such as Tropical Oasis, Hawaiian Breeze, Rock Your Run, CUC Energy Saver, Passage to India, Fete-a-Thon and 50 Shades of Red, runners are sure to be entertained on the course. Pinnacle Media will have a water stop too.
“We are looking forward to a fun, safe and exciting race this weekend,” said race director Rhonda Kelly. “Every year we continue to grow, and we look forward to a memorable event in terms of numbers and great achievements.
“In particular, we are so looking forward to seeing Derek [Haines] complete his Six4Hospice mission.”
She added that they feel honored that he chose this event to cap his amazing journey, and this year’s race “is really about celebrating him and his accomplishments.”
Kelly also said the event is inspirational and at times very emotional. “We are just thrilled to be able to share these milestones and powerful moments with all our runners.”
Plenty of significant milestones are likely to be achieved:
Quang Le of Dorchester, Massachusetts, is running his first full marathon outside the U.S.
Wanda “Adonza” Harrison is running her first full marathon and raising money for the Cayman Red Cross.
Nicola Millward is running the half to raise money for animal charity P.A.W.S.
Kim Landry Short will run in honor of Hannah Meeson and all children with cancer.
Danielle Cococcia is striding out for Team Lemon of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Ems Melland takes on her first full marathon and is fundraising for Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness (ARK).
Lucia Todea is running for her nephew who has been diagnosed with autism.
Kathleen Quick (Ohio), an ovarian cancer survivor, wants to emphasize that cancer doesn’t win.
Surena King (Maryland) is running to cope with the loss of her mother in May.
Jason Maune (California) is making his last attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon before his 40th birthday.
Jonathan Crawford (Kentucky) of team Not Fast, Just Furious will be running in honor of his best friend who died a year ago, aged 27, on a trail run in Canada.
Barry and Susan Lutzke (Indiana) are returning to celebrate their anniversary and Susan’s birthday and run the half-marathon in honor of their former spouses who both died of cancer.
Andrea McPherson (Iowa), who has hip dysplasia and a labral tear in both hips, endured surgery in 2012 and 2013 only to be told that she would never run again. However, after months of physiotherapy, she is running the half-marathon.
Listed at No. 94 in the United States on the active list for the U.S. Running Streak Association, Matt Ketterman (North Carolina) is continuing his unbroken running streak of 8,453 days.
Jennie Circo (Nebraska) is on a mission to complete 50 half-marathons by age 50. The Cayman event will put her halfway to her goal.
“We are always amazed and inspired by the stories behind why people run our race, and we are just so honored to be a part of their experience,” said Kelly.
Marius Acker is looking to regain his title as half-marathon champ after Dominic Corbin took the prize last year. Corbin has left the island. American Justin Grunewald is returning to run the long distance after smashing the course record in 2011 in 2 hours, 36 minutes, 23 seconds.
Tedy’s Team, a group of runners who raise funds for the American Stroke Association, will be bringing a small group to the race for the first time. Team Diabetes out of Canada, which has participated for the past three years, is taking a break for 2014 but are already promoting their participation in 2015.
More than 250 overseas runners, accompanied by family and friends, are registered to take part, many of them repeat runners, such as Steve and Ally Speirs from Virginia Beach, Kelley Garcia from New Mexico, Gelsomina Paolini and Steve Marino of Delaware, and Gayla Landeros from Oklahoma.
In addition, major sponsor Department of Tourism has invited two journalists, Amy Schlinger (half-marathon) and Tobias Mews (full marathon) to cover the event and give it more international exposure.
New York-based Schlinger will write a first-person account of her trip to Cayman for Self.com, featuring her experience here and participation in the Intertrust Marathon.
Mews, a columnist for Telegraph Men in the England, is one of the U.K.’s leading ultra-endurance athletes.
In 2011, he entered the Marathon des Sables and surprised himself by not only finishing 21st overall, but also as fastest Brit. He has gone on to compete in many of the world’s toughest races, including the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in Norway, the 800km Absa Cape Epic multi-stage mountain bike race in South Africa, the Jungle Ultra in Peru and the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.
In 2013, he returned to the Sahara Desert for the Marathon des Sables, finishing 15th overall and third Brit. Mews is also a professional adventure sports journalist and filmmaker, writing for a mul
titude of publications, including Runners World and Men’s Fitness.
Organizers are asking for the public’s cooperation during the race by keeping traffic along the route to a minimum, and in particular, those people who live along the route are being asked to secure their dogs in their yards and turn on their Christmas lights from 4:30 a.m. As of midnight Saturday, vehicular traffic will be restricted in Central George Town, South Sound and Red Bay areas.
Around 2,000 people will be involved and, in the interest of public safety, motorists are asked to seek alternate routes to their destinations as a number of junctions will be closed or restricted in order to ensure the overall safety of the participants and spectators. Uniform officers will assist the motoring public.
Late registration for the 2014 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon can be done at the Westin Resort Ballroom on Saturday during packet pick-up from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, email: [email protected] or call Bev Sinclair on 623-8822.