Judy Rivers enjoys participating in sport so much that it’s a wonder anyone manages to spot her standing still for more than a minute.
Karate, road runs, flag football, regular football in lots of formats and cycling are her main interests.
“Being active and fit adds to enjoyment to life,” she said. Her favorite? “Hmm. I enjoy them all but mostly running as it’s not just good for health, but also good for the soul. It keeps me happy and helps to clear the mind.”
Despite the variety, Rivers does not have a specific sporting highlight. Merely participating at a high level and walking away knowing that she tried her best is the main satisfaction for the 37-year-old banker.
Her only immediate sporting ambition is to attain a black belt with the Purple Dragon Karate School. A brown belt now, she is just two gradings away from that.
Considering her immersion in sports now, she is a relative latecomer to the camaraderie and benefits athletics brings.
“Surprisingly, I didn’t like sports – or sweating – until I was about 12, when I was introduced to netball in school. After that I tried track and field and realized that I had a knack for distance running (winning medals locally and internationally).”
Football was taken up from the age of 18, and she captured individual awards, including goalkeeper of the year, as well as team awards. Rivers has represented Cayman internationally in football, most recently in a friendly match in Guadeloupe two weeks ago. She also played against the New Haven Chargers university side from Connecticut last week.
If Rivers could be a world or Olympic champion – or both – in one sport, track, the 1500 meter race would be her choice. “Although it is less than a mile, it is basically an all-out sprint race – and time and speed is something that I am continually training on.”
She admires all athletes “who show determination and hard work to achieve their dreams no matter how big or small,” and is glad that the sporting scene has improved in recent years with some events attracting big-name international athletes, such as track stars Usain Bolt, Valerie Campbell-Brown and Yohan Blake. “However, there is still room for improvement.”
Rivers feels the events could be better organized and supported. She added, “A lot of companies only support sports when they have staff members involved, so it would be nice to see more companies getting involved by lending a helping hand for local athletes, especially for those traveling to represent the country.”
She also feels better advertising and promotion would help sporting events. “It would lead to better turnouts, not just from locals, but also international people.”
The Cayman Islands Cadet Corps 10K on April 12 is Rivers’s next event. She hopes to see its usual great response.
For anyone considering getting involved in sports, Rivers has sound advice. “I would encourage everyone to get active somehow because it is very beneficial in different ways.
“And a little advice for those wanting to start or just starting; Just take it one day and one step at a time. Start off walking and it’ll progress to running.”