The Fidelity Cross Island Relay always brings out a great mix of road runners for the annual event, and a record turnout of 100 teams of six ran the 4-mile legs from Gun Bay, East End to Smith Barcadere – aka Smith Cove – on Sunday.
Organized by the Hash House Harriers, the title looked likely to change hands because Marius Acker’s team, In It To Win It, were defending against the MDR-A youngsters who won the relay event in December’s Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon in record time.
But MDR-A were without their star runner, Dominic Dyer, and In It To Win It were comfortable winners in 2 hours 27 minutes 50 seconds, almost seven minutes ahead of MDR-A (2:34:08).
The reigning champs started with youngster Michael Ford, the slowest member, but he still ran a good leg, handing over in sixth spot. Greg Meaker took over and made up some time and handed over to Acker in the lead.
Acker increased that distance before passing the baton on to Hayden Isbister, who increased the lead for Neal Ainscow.
He had another blistering leg, which made it a comfortable run for home for Andrew West to cruise along the scenic South Sound coast to finish.
Hash House Harriers I (2:42:52) were third, Flashy Nation Sports (2:43:46) Club fourth, and fifth were Thompson’s Trotters (2:48:42). The all-girls Original Sole Sisters were sixth home in 2:39:37 and fastest girl team.
Lauretta Bennett, Gill Comins, Beth Florek, Joanna Mansi, Kym Bailey and Tracey Walker were the Sole Sisters speedsters.
Blisters Sisters (3:16:07) were the second all-female team, and the Slow Sisters third all girls. Some corporate teams were disqualified for not having all six members employed by their company.
Acker said he expected MDR-A to give them a bigger test, but when he heard that Dyer was injured, it changed the whole dynamic.
“Although Michael Ford came in sixth, it was good to give him a run,” Acker said. “He is young and up and coming. Greg caught up on the second, and we took time on every leg after that. The race was basically over after leg two.”
The general consensus is that the Cross Island Relay gets better every year, and it was certainly the case again this time, partly because of the introduction of chip timing and Trevor Murphy and Claire Griffin being able to immediately post the times electronically.
Acker is looking forward to entering two teams in Off The Beaten Track next month – they won it last year – and seeing off the challenge of MDR-A again.
For more information, visit www.caymanhash.com.