Larner's kids closed the gap again

The Cross Island Relay had a record turnout with 99 six-member teams entered, and the overall standard was raised as a new generation of youngsters impressed again under coach Derek Larner’s guidance.

Larner is a runner himself, but injury prevented him from entering Sunday’s six-leg race from Gun Bay, East End to Smith Bacadere, but he was still heavily involved because three of his Middle Distance Runners (MDR) teams entered.

Larner, through Race Caribbean, also helped organize the 24-mile event, and this year chip timing was introduced. It was well received as results were posted immediately on a screen after the finishes by Trevor Murphy and Claire Griffin.

“All the MDR runners performed well depending on their level of fitness, age and experience,” Larner said.

“Unfortunately, their best long-distance runner, Dominic Dyer, has a niggling injury and we felt it was better to rest him as he has his sights set on performing well at CARIFTA at Easter. Dyer is receiving treatment and taking a few days off. Still, without him, the A-team easily came in second place.”

The team is comprised of teenagers Tiffany Cole, Sherlock Brooks, Tahj Lewis, Delano Callender, Will Edwards and Alex Logvinov. They finished in 2 hours 34 minutes 8 seconds behind In It To Win It (2:27:50).

Andrew West finished strong for In It To Win It after taking over from Neal Ainscow who ran the fifth leg.

Corporate team winners were PWC Six-Pack (2:50:06), which included Erik Fell, Brian Munro, Dave Lilley, Mike Smith, Ranier Crouse and Ric Agrella.

Celebrated marathon runner Derek Haines made a rare appearance at a short distance for one of the teams.

Colorful and imaginative team names abounded again, including Cirque de Sore Legs, Knott So Fast, CrossFit 7 Mile Bar-Belles, PwC Scrambled Legs and Achin’, Chicken Legs, Your Pace Or Mine and We Thought They Said Rum!

It was organized by the Hash House Harriers, and the main sponsor was Fidelity Bank. A couple of corporate teams were placed in the open division for having runners who were not in the company.

The teams had entered the corporate division online and ticked the box saying all runners worked for the same company, Larner said. However, after the race, it was discovered that some teams’ runners were not working for the same company, making it unfair to the corporate teams who had only its employees in the race.

“The idea of a ‘corporate’ race is to encourage companies to compete against each other, not simply sponsor the cost of entry of a team of runners,” Larner said.

“I doubt anyone was deliberately trying to cheat. In the past, teams have done this and therefore it may have been assumed it was allowed. I believe companies authorized teams and left it to one person to sort out.”

Larner said the ineligible corporate teams should have entered into the open division instead.

He said that feedback on the chip timing was positive. “Of course, we had initial teething problems, but thanks to the skills of Claire and Trevor, we have made the results service very slick.

“We will work on the changeover checkpoints for next year and try and make them less congested.”

Now Larner focuses on the Valentine’s Mile on Feb. 15, starting at the Bayshore Mall at 4 p.m. and benefiting the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.

“For all those people who participated in Stride Against Cancer last week, why not continue your support and participate in the Valentine’s Mile?” Larner said.

Entry is $15 for adults and $5 for teens. There will also be an Under-10s fun run which is free to enter and finishers get a medal.

Larner praised Fidelity Bank for its continued generosity in being the sole sponsor of this event.