Marius Acker has had a mixed year of sporting achievements but at least he can enjoy the festive season happy in the knowledge that he is half marathon champ again.
Acker regained the title he had won six previous times at the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon.
Initially he said it did not feel real and has only just started to sink in.
“I am really happy to have won again,” Acker said. “If you told me after winning the first time that I would win six more times I would not have believed you. Many of the local running community had also written me off due to last year.”
This was the only title that the 43-year-old South African won in Cayman this year.
In his 10 years here Acker has always held one of the big event crowns, but this year he was working abroad so could not defend his Stroke and Stride title in August and he did not take the triathlon title last month so regaining the half marathon bauble was deeply satisfying.
Acker’s time of 1 hour 19 minutes 14 seconds for the 13.1 mile race last week was way ahead of Benjamin Wuthrich’s 1:26:47 and Samuel Young’s 1:28:40.
Acker was extremely disappointed with his time of 1:21:38 last year which placed him third behind winner Dominic Corbin (1:21:06) and Gabriele Grunewald (1:21:12).
But it was only 32 seconds behind the first place and he had been injured in the lead up to the event, forcing him to withdraw from the Chicago Marathon two months earlier because of it.
The fact that Acker had no serious challengers this year did not tempt him to run a tactical and much slower race and still win. “My motivation was to meet the goal I set for myself last year, winning the event was a big bonus.”
Acker thinks 10 wins is possible. “My residency application is pending and I hope to be able to be given a chance to try and achieve that if it is approved.”
Despite his successes in the half marathon, the temptation of doing the full marathon is not there.
“You will be amazed at how many times I get asked this. It’s the question most people have asked over the years, including the organizers.
“I have run the Boston Marathon and several others in the past. I have not run a marathon in the last eight years and I do not enjoy the amount of training that is needed to be competitive.”
He participated in a half marathon in Redding, California early October, then the local triathlon and feels he has earned himself a break to simply play tennis and enjoy kiteboarding.
He also coaches, with Derek Larner, the talented teenagers MDR A-Team, who set a new record in the four-person relay.
“Our kids relay team smashed the course record by eight minutes and beat the British Bulldogs by two minutes,” Acker said.
“The MDRs will be difficult to beat in coming years. I look forward to putting a relay team together to challenge them in the Cross Island relay in February. They are a new force in relay events.”