Derek Haines: Remarkable feet, remarkable feat

Linked hand in hand with several of his strongest supporters (and metaphorically with the entire community), former police officer Derek Haines crossed the finish line of the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, the sixth and final 26.2-mile segment of his Herculean campaign to raise $1 million for Cayman HospiceCare.

A last-minute groundswell of support pushed Mr. Haines beyond the fundraising goal, ensuring that HospiceCare will have the financial resources to build a new, much-needed facility on land near Camana Bay, generously donated by the Dart Group.

Looking back at Mr. Haines’s most impressive accomplishment, one might be tempted to declare that this is a supreme example of the difference that one man, committed to a cause, can make. But that would put us in direct conflict with Mr. Haines, who is tireless in giving credit to so many individuals who helped him, well, every step of the way.

We talked to Mr. Haines yesterday, and he reports “I feel as good today as I ever have after a marathon” (so good, in fact, he was planning to “hit the streets” again at the end of the day). Mr. Haines wanted us to emphasize in this editorial the contributions that so many made to his effort. Frankly, his list was too long to print, so we singled out a few of our own:

First, HospiceCare board chairman Chris Duggan, who set the tone for the entire mission when he eloquently and emotionally spoke at the official Government House launch of the Six4Hospice campaign in March. Mr. Duggan told of his own father’s passing, and the role HospiceCare played in enabling his dad to spend his final days among family and friends at home, rather than at a clinical institution.

The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman in general, and in particular, club treasurer Chris Johnson, merit much recognition for their financial support and management of the donations.

Others also were central, most notably the four women who joined Mr. Haines at the finish line Sunday: Governor Helen Kilpatrick (who has lent her official support since the beginning), Mr. Haines’s daughter Lizzie (who traveled from Australia to run with him — and finished second among the women runners), his wife Helen (providing the all-important spousal approval and encouragement), and running partner Cynthia Hew.

That being said, ultimately, Mr. Haines was the guy whose sneakers hit the pavement over the course of more than 157 miles this year. Assuming his stride covers a yard at a time, Mr. Haines took more than 275,000 steps along his fundraising journey, breaking down, roughly, to about $3.60 per step. Certainly, others provided necessary assistance, but in the end, Mr. Haines was “the man who ran.”
We’ll point out one entry on Derek Haines’s running résumé we bet you don’t know about:

After he rose through the ranks of the Leicestershire Constabulary in the U.K. to the top post of Detective Chief Inspector in the 1960s, Haines would spend his “lunch hours” running with three or four of his constabulary mates.

They charted their daily routes through the highest crime areas in the county, and eventually the squad grew to 16 plainclothes detectives.

Regularly the squad would spot wanted criminals, and, of course, a chase would ensue. The bad guys were fast (Who wouldn’t be if they were being chased by a small army of Leicestershire’s finest?), but the good guys were usually faster.

In just one year (and remember, just on their lunch breaks), Haines and his running mates made 26 arrests!

Not bad training for a marathon — or, in this case, six marathons — for a most-worthy cause.

To close, we might be a bit cheeky and suggest that for his next race Derek Haines ought to consider a run for public office. One thing we know for certain: He’d have the bad guys on the run!

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