It’s time to lace up those running shoes and enjoy Cayman from a whole new perspective as Off The Beaten Track 2017 looms large on the horizon.

For those still working on their New Year’s resolutions, or looking for a little motivation to restart them, Off The Beaten Track offers the perfect mix of a true endurance challenge with a unique and exciting course.

Mega marathon

Off The Beaten Track on Feb. 26 is a 50K off-road relay race and ultramarathon designed to emulate the famed Marathon des Sables. With a route that changes each year and with the added challenge of the course being disclosed only a week before the event, this race promises to be anything but boring.

“For many seasoned runners in Cayman, this race is the highlight of the running calendar as they never know where they will end up,” says Anna Keating, race director. “The excitement of a new course and the constantly changing landscape of Cayman keeps everyone guessing. We are [very happy] that this race has attracted such a strong following within the Cayman running community.

“Our long-term major sponsors, KRyS Global, Brown Rudnick, Tower and Mourant Ozannes have journeyed with us from the beginning. Their continued support every year means that this race can continue to thrill Cayman’s athletes and help raise much needed funds for a deserving charity.”

The race course promises countless twists and turns paired with a beautiful sunrise, as runners venture along some of Cayman’s best hidden trails, dyke roads, dirt roads and beaches; an exhilarating run for all levels of athlete.

Race designer Derek Larner of Race Caribbean hints, “This year’s course incorporates some of the familiar locations with the odd back street thrown in, some interesting shortcuts and the occasional surprise.”

Solo or team?

While this event is a great way for the racing veteran to take a break from their normal training routines, it also provides an excellent opportunity for teams to bond and work together to outrun the competition. The increasingly popular team event is attracting runners of mixed ability who want the opportunity to experience the uniqueness of the course without facing the punishing distance of the full race.

The team from Mourant Ozannes, headed by Hayden Isbister, has won the hotly contested male category for the past two years, and no doubt they will be back again this year to defend their title.

The Sole Sisters are the defending female champions, with PwC Six Pack holding the corporate team prize. Last year, the Solomon Harris Speedsters – the youngest team ever – took the top spot in the mixed relay. Mourant Ozannes and the Sole Sisters look to have their training schedule on track for this year’s event, having recently taken top honors at the Cross Island Relay.

With each team comprising up to six runners tackling approximately 8K each, there is a sense of accomplishment for everyone who takes part.

Meanwhile, the individual race is also hotly contested as the Solo Male prize changed hands last year to Andrew Keast, a previous winner.

The Solo Female category has been owned outright by Helki Weber, who has retained the title for the past four years.

Charitable giving

Each year, the race supports a charity which reflects its values of teamwork, community and the love of Cayman. This year’s beneficiary will be YMCA Cayman Islands. Its mission is to help all members of the community reach their full potential and to positively encourage youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

If you are ready for a challenge (and some fun) like no other, then check out www.offthebeatentrack.ky for information on how to register, volunteer and sponsor the event.

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