Ninety-five teams turned out for Sunday’s 42nd Cross Island Relay, which was won by the MDR A-Team who led from the start.
The event, hosted by the Hash House Harriers and sponsored by Fidelity Bank, was run in what organizers described as “near perfect conditions” – overcast and with lower temperatures than usual.
The MDR A-team controlled the run from start to finish, completing it in 2 hours, 30 minutes and 5 seconds, more than two minutes ahead of the second-placed In It To Win It, who finished in 2:32:18. In third place was Bulldogs in 2:32:34.
Each team consisted of six runners, with the run made up of six legs.
On leg 1, after running together with the main group for a few minutes, Will Edwards of MDRs and Derek Larner of Bulldogs pulled away and by mile 1 were running together out in front.
Shortly after, Edwards edged ahead of Larner and by mile 2, he was leading by about 100 feet. Meanwhile, Chadwick Webster of In It To Win It was closing in on Larner and caught him by the time they had reached East End. By the end of the first leg, Edwards had given the MDR A-Team a one-minute lead, Webster was in second place and Larner third. Stuart Bray of Plan B was the fourth person home, closely followed by Hugh Anderson of Walkers. The fastest female runner home was Joanna Mansi of Sole Sisters in 26.59.
On leg 2, the MDR A-Team, knowing the race is often won or lost in the early legs, put their strongest runner on leg 2. Taking the baton a minute ahead of the field was Dominic Dyer who made the quickest run of the day, in 22.03, giving his team an insurmountable lead.
The next quickest leg 2 runner was Andrew Keast of Bulldogs, with Plan B in third place thanks to a quick leg by Amilkar Torres. Doug Anderson also had a quick run, bringing Red Sail into contention. In it To Win It made the decision to put their least quickest runner on this leg and dropped down a little. Young Tommy Kehoe, age 14, was the seventh fastest on this leg in 26.40. The quickest woman home on this leg was Elaine Anderson of Walkers in 27.25.
On leg 3, Hayden Isbister (In It To Win It) ran his team back into contention with the fastest time in this leg of 24.13. Aaron Walker of Bulldogs closed the gap on the leaders by about 30 seconds and they were still in second, although they were not in sight of the leaders at the end as Victor Magalhaes maintained the lead with a composed and even-paced run. Bill Edwards (father of Will, who won leg 1) finished in under 25 minutes, keeping Red Sail well ahead of other corporate teams. The fastest woman was Olivia Shanks of the Sole Sisters who by now were well ahead of their rivals in the all-female team division.
In leg 4, Marius Acker, a runner who is well used to finishing first in races, was a little bemused that his team, In It To Win It, were so far behind. He ran the fastest leg 4 of the day to close the gap on the first two teams, which remained MDR A-Team, then the Bulldogs thanks to good runs from Delano Callender and DJ Evans. The fastest woman was Jane Hale of Nuclear Tumbleweeds.
By leg 5, newcomer Matt Laycock of the Bulldogs managed to close the gap on Sherlock Brooks of the MDRs by one minute. JP Hanokom kept In It To Win It in third place, while Kym Bailey had the Sole Sisters well ahead of the other all female teams.
On leg 6, the leaders were so far ahead, their runner jogged back and stopped for a chat at the water stop before continuing on his way to an easy win. Greg Meaker had thought he would have to settle for third place as he started a few minutes behind Tony Mendez of the Bulldogs. Mendez had agreed to stand in at the last minute for the Bulldogs and was not quite race fit, but rather than see the Bulldogs pull out he said he would run. Meaker ran hard and he could see over the course of the leg that he was gradually closing in on Mendez and eventually caught him a few hundred yards from the finish, earning In It To Win It second overall with the Bulldogs settling for third. The fastest female runner on this leg was 11-year-old Molly Kehoe.
Throughout the race, runners were kept refreshed at the water stops, which were manned by Red Cross volunteers. The Cayman Islands Cadets helped out with traffic control on the route, Race Caribbean volunteers were on hand at checkpoints to keep runners on track, and the Hash House Harriers took care of the planning and administration before the race.