Runners gear up for marathon

Brent Weigner, 69, will be taking part in his 166th marathon when he joins the other runners at Sunday's 16th annual Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon.

More than 1,000 people have signed up to take part in Sunday’s Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half-Marathon and 4-Person Relay.

Among the runners this year are people who have recovered from injuries and surgeries, individuals who are adding Cayman’s marathon to their large and growing tally of worldwide marathons, and a couple who will do the run the morning after getting married.

The race begins at 5 a.m. Sunday at the George Town waterfront. Organizers are encouraging members of the public to come out and support the event, which raises charitable funds for the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps, the Cancer Society and other organizations.

As of Monday this week, 102 full marathoners, 810 half-marathon entrants, and 67 relay teams had registered, with at least another 100 expected to sign up the day before the marathon, in “the usual flurry of last-minute entries,” organizers said in a press release. Last year, more than 1,200 people took part.

This year, between visiting runners, their families and supporters, the race is bringing close to 700 visitors to the island, organizers said.

“It’s our 16th year, and every year keeps getting better,” said Race Director Rhonda Kelly. “The support we receive from the community, our sponsors, volunteers, local runners and overseas runners – some who fly here every year just to run our race – is overwhelming at times.

“This event is so inspirational and at times so emotional. We are just thrilled to be a part of the triumphs and powerful moments that a lot of our local and visiting runners will experience this Sunday. We count it an honor to be a part of their stories.”

Runners’ stories

The marathon’s organizers highlighted the journeys of some of the runners taking part in Sunday’s event.

Among the runners will be 69-year old Brent Weigner who is doing his 166th marathon. Mr. Weigner, from Cheyenne, Wyoming, has completed a marathon in all 50 U.S. states, in all 10 Canadian provinces and two territories, and on all seven continents 10 times, as well as 53 ultramarathons.

Robert Catlett, from St. Albans, West Virginia, proposed to his girlfriend just before crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon this year. He had visited the Cayman Marathon booth at the expo and decided to run Cayman someday. “We decided on a destination wedding for just the two of us and thought it would be fun to run a marathon together, so we remembered the Grand Cayman booth. We are getting married Dec. 1 and running the marathon on Dec. 2. I tell everyone I am going to say ‘I do’ and ‘Good night,’” he said.

Local resident Sharon Davies, who completed last year’s marathon after having both hips replaced at Health City due to arthritis, is doing her second half-marathon.

Caymanian mom and daughter team Shan and Alexia Harriman will be participating in the half-marathon. Shan will be pushing Alexia in her racing chair. Calling their team “Wings for Lexi,” Shan and Alexia hope they will encourage other parents with special needs children to get involved. For them, the race is to promote inclusion.

Troy and Cathie Johnson, from Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, have completed more than 300 marathons, including in all 50 states twice, and in 21 countries. “We want to add the Cayman Islands to our country list,” they said.

Cayman resident Kristina Wight, who is running to raise funds for ALS Canada, started running the roads of Cayman eight months after suffering injuries that left her with a broken elbow and unable to walk.

Marco Seitelmann, from Berlin, Germany, met Race Director Rhonda Kelly at the Boston Marathon Expo in 2013 and finished the Boston Marathon five minutes before the bombs exploded. He has spent the last two years working toward running again. “Now it’s the time to do it,” he said.

Cayman will also be welcoming a 50-member strong group from Canada that includes teenagers from the Healthy Horizons Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of young people.

Young runners will also get their own dedicated event. The Kids Fun Run will start at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue and end just past the finish line on the corner of Cardinall Avenue and Harbour Drive. This event is free for students between the ages of 5 and 11 years old and is expected to bring in 300 children.

Awards will be given to the top three male and female marathoners and half-marathoners in the 29-and-under, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60-and-over age categories, as well as the top three teams in the corporate, all-male, all-female and mixed relay competitions, and the winners of the CUC High School challenge relay.

Organizers are asking the public to keep traffic along the race route to a minimum, and are encouraging people who live along the route to secure their dogs in their yards, and turn on their Christmas lights, if they have any, from 4:30 a.m.

Route

The marathon consists of two laps of a course which starts on the waterfront, by Sharkeez Bar & Grill, and goes through South Church Street, South Sound and Old Prospect Road, after which runners turn around and go back through South Sound and then onto Walkers and Hospital Roads, Elgin Avenue, Edward and Fort Streets, and back to Sharkeez.

Late registration can only be done at the Westin Resort’s Galleon Ballroom on Saturday, Dec. 1, during Packet Pick Up from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, visit www.caymanislandsmarathon.com.