Do you fancy trying a different sporting event that tests your mettle and ability to conquer the wild? Why run along the open road when you can rediscover the (almost) untouched interior landscape of the island?

One of Cayman’s most grueling athletic events has returned for 2018 with the 9th annual Off The Beaten Track (OTBT) taking place on Sunday, starting at Tiki Beach and ending at Smith Cove.

This one-of-a-kind race will lead participants on a 50km ultramarathon through tropical bush, sandy beaches and the back roads of Cayman. Kenneth Krys, CEO of KRyS Global, has tackled the grueling Marathon des Sables race in Morocco, after which he started Off The Beaten Track to emulate this style of race.

Participants can enter as a solo runner taking on the whole 50km or as a relay team of six people, each running, on average, 8km. Entry is US$100 for solo runners and US$300 for relay teams.

“With the course changing every year, regardless if this is your first time running Off The Beaten Track or if you have participated previously, the new course is always a fun challenge,” says Krys. “It is also extremely important that this race be used as an opportunity to support charities making a difference in the Cayman Islands community.

“This year, the local beneficiary charity will be selected differently than how we have done so in the past. Each major sponsor will select a local charity of choice to be promoted during the race, with a random draw on race day to choose the winner. This enables up to six charities to gain awareness leading up to and on the day of the race.”

The course is usually mapped out by one person, but multiple entities have taken responsibility for a section each this year. Scott Ruby, Olivia Shanks, Theo Kelly, Marcelo Magalhaes and Ronan O’Keeffe have joined race director Derek Larner in devising constantly interesting and ever-changing paths through the bush to challenge participants.

They seek permission from private land owners, where necessary, and physically cut away roots and branches to create their leg of the race.

“I go into the bush with my GPS and use Google satellite imagery to help me devise my plan,” says Larner. “What makes Off The Beaten Track unique is its design. The fastest and fittest runners don’t always win – it’s all about how well you can navigate and read the map.”

Due to the length of the course and its goal to stay off the straight and narrow as much as possible, the majority of entries are teams. “Last year we had 75 teams of six people each,” says Larner, “and 20 solo runners.” He hopes to see even more signing up this year.

Water stations are set up at regular intervals and members of the Cadet Corps will be volunteering to assist where necessary.

Off The Beaten Track also benefits international organization Facing Africa, which sends medical supplies and surgeons to sub-Saharan Africa to help children battling a devastating disease called Noma, which causes facial deformities in young children.

Solo runners and teams can register at www.caymanactive.com until Friday at noon, or in person at packet pickup on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Orchid Development office in Cricket Square. For more information, visit www.offthebeatentrack.ky or contact [email protected] or call 325-8282.

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