Organizers of this weekend’s marathon say more than 1,200 people are already registered for Sunday’s run.
The 14th annual Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon will start at 5 a.m. on the waterfront in George Town, then around South Sound and return via Walkers Road. Organizers say they expect last-minute registrations will put the number of runners well over last year’s 1,300.
Race Director Rhonda Kelly said, “We have a lot of local first-time runners for the full [marathon], and that’s exciting.”
She said the weather this year is looking much cooler than last year. “Last year was the warmest we’ve had,” she said.
“It’s looking like it might rain,” Ms. Kelly said. “Rain or shine, we go. People train for months for this event.”
According to the Cayman Islands National Weather Service, Sunday’s forecast is an early morning low of 74, with a high of 86. Forecasters give the day a 40-percent chance of rain and the winds could pick up to 15 or 20 knots.
As of Thursday, Ms. Kelly said, the race has about 800 people registered for the half-marathon, 107 for the full race, and she expects 80 teams with four runners each for the relay race. She said she expects another 100 to 150 people to register before Sunday’s race.
About 170 runners are visiting Cayman for the marathon, she said.
In addition to all the runners, Ms. Kelly added, the marathon has about 300 volunteers working on logistics and running the water stops, among other things.
American Olympian, author and masters competitor Jeff Galloway, known internationally for his Run Walk Run training method, will host a running school on Saturday to help runners with their training.
Each runner brings her or his own story to Cayman’s 26.2-mile race.
The stories range from runners who are raising money for family members facing potentially terminal illnesses to a quest to run marathons in as many countries as possible.
Scott Ruby and Nikki Christian of team Nikki’s Voice will run their second Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon. Ruby and Christian have become a familiar sight around the island, with Ruby pushing his running partner, who has cerebral palsy, in a custom wheelchair.
In an interview this week, Ruby said, “People see us on the road all the time,” and are more inclusive as the team makes “it more of a normal thing.”
It’s no longer a spectacle to see the pair running or swimming, he said, and now people think, “There they go again.”
Ruby and Christian are training for the Mercuryman Triathlon next year. He said they have done some shorter triathlons to get ready for the 70.3-mile swim-bike-run event.
Katie Milner, a British expat living in Cayman, organized a relay team to run the marathon and raise money for her 44-year-old brother, who is facing late-stage kidney cancer. She said her brother, Ben Milner, has sought treatment at a private clinic in Germany.
“These treatments are his best chance,” she said.
She said her brother has a 3-year-old son. A fundraising effort in England, through the popular GoFundMe website, has already raised more than 26,000 pounds, about US$35,000.
This is Milner’s first time running a marathon. She said she had thought about running the relay before, but raising money for her brother gave her the push she needed. She will run the last leg of the race, and she is most concerned about the heat.
Brent Weigner, a childhood cancer survivor, has run marathons in 116 countries. In an interview Wednesday he said he plans to run the Reggae Marathon in Jamaica on Saturday before flying to Cayman for Sunday’s race.
Weigner, from the U.S. state of Wyoming, will add two more countries to his list this weekend. The 67-year-old is ranked second in the world behind German Klaus Westphal, who has raced in 123 countries as of Nov. 5.
South Church Street and South Sound Road will be closed except to local traffic from the waterfront to the roundabout at Hurley’s. One lane will be closed from Hurley’s to Prospect Point, and Prospect Point Road will also be closed.
A number of roads in central George Town will also be closed from 4:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
A road closure announcement from police notes, “We ask that motorists and pedestrians familiarize themselves with the route and closures, and be mindful of the safety of participants and spectators. Police will be on hand to direct local traffic along the route (residents only).”