Runners attending the Miami Marathon Expo late last month had a chance to hear all about the Cayman Islands Marathon.
The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon and Department of Tourism had a booth at the expo to promote the 2016 Cayman run which takes place on Dec. 4.
Local ultra-runner Scott Ruby was on hand to talk to fellow runners about running in the Cayman Islands. Ruby ran the full marathon in December 2015 as part of team Nikki’s Voice, pushing 24-year-old Nikki Christian who has cerebral palsy.
Ruby said he enjoyed the opportunity to represent the race.
“It was a great event. For me personally, it was a chance to talk about two things I love: the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands marathon. People who visited the booth were very interested in Cayman. One of the major selling points of the marathon is that our race is an easy one; we have one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world.”
Tourism Services Officer Rhonda Cornwall joined Ruby at the booth, giving visitors an insight into what Cayman has to offer as a destination.
“The Cayman Islands presence at the Miami Marathon Health and Fitness Expo was well received with many persons displaying great interest in learning more about the Cayman Islands Marathon and the destination overall,” said Cornwall. “Participating in this expo gave us the opportunity to advance awareness of sports tourism in the Cayman Islands. It was helpful to have Scott with us for this experience because he was able to communicate in runners’ ‘language.’”
This was the first time that the Cayman Marathon has exhibited at the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon, which is in its 14th year and attracted more than 12,000 runners.
Tina Jones, the Department of Tourism’s southeast representative also attended the expo and was impressed with what she saw.
“The Miami Marathon Expo was a successful event for the Cayman Islands,” said Jones. “I was excited to meet so many people from around the world who showed interest in running the marathon, as well as vacationing in Cayman. The interest from potential visitors continues to grow and I am thrilled to see the success of the Cayman Islands.”
The Cayman Islands Marathon has grown substantially since the first race in 2002, which began with just 198 runners. Last year, 1,350 participated in the three events – a full marathon, half-marathon and four-person relay. Almost 300 were visitors who travel with family and friends to the Cayman Islands.
“We were so excited to partner with the Department of Tourism to promote our race at the Miami Marathon,” said Rhonda Kelly, race co-director. “DoT has been an enthusiastic supporter of this event for many years and we are glad they see the vision that we have for this race and what it is doing, and can continue to do for the island, as a sports tourism destination. Thank you to Scott, Rhonda and Tina for being ambassadors for our race and the Cayman Islands.”
Sports tourism – and in this case ‘run-cations’ – is a rapidly developing industry with a growing number of runners traveling to warmer climates in the winter months to compete. Cornwall said this was definitely a big draw at the Expo as a lot of runners liked the idea of combining the marathon with a vacation.
Though the 2016 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is still 10 months away, building awareness for overseas runners early is a must, added Cornwall.
“Many of the runners who were interested were looking to plan well in advance, even inquiring about the 2017 dates.”
The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon takes place on the first Sunday in December every year.