Record number of runners turn out for 2018 marathon

A record 1,350 runners participated in the marathon, half-marathon, and relay this year at the Cayman Islands Intertrust Marathon.

Many times were slower on Sunday than in recent years past, a fact that many runners attributed to the humidity and warmer-than-usual temperatures.

Race Director Rhonda Kelly said “more [runners] than usual” had to stop and receive medical treatment due to dehydration.

The winner of this year’s marathon, Polish national Wojciech Kopec, ran the 26.2 miles in a blistering 2 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds. That time was just 10 minutes off the course record set by Justin Grunewald in 2011, but was nowhere close to Mr. Kopec’s personal record of 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Mr. Kopec attributed his relatively slower time to the humidity and the fact that Sunday was his third marathon in three weeks. He said he and his girlfriend are taking a monthlong vacation in the Caribbean. Last week, he ran a marathon in Curacao, and the week before that he ran one in Cuba. Mr. Kopec said he wanted to also run one in Jamaica, but that the marathon was scheduled for Sunday, too.

“The humidity is what affected me. The first half I was feeling great, I thought I was going to make it [the course record],” he said. “But after 30 [kilometers], my muscles got tired.”

Steve Speirs, a four-time Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon champion, also ran about slower (3:09:11) than his winning time of 2:59:54 last year, as did women’s champion Yvonne Carter (3:28:31 in 2017 compared to 3:32:48 this year).

Dr. Carter, an American thoracic surgeon, said she was mad at her time because she ran a personal best earlier this year of three hours and eight minutes in New York.

However, she said she was happy this year to bring her twin sister to Cayman. Her sister is not a runner, so the two had a bet to see who could finish first: Dr. Carter running the marathon or her sister running the half-marathon.

“I didn’t beat her, so I’m buying the margaritas,” she said, adding, “As painful as it is, this and New York are my favorite marathons. I’ll be back.”

Along with the runners who compete in the Intertrust Marathon every year, hundreds came here for the first time. Ms. Kelly said the event drew 250 visitors, including a group of 40 people from Canada.

Among the visitors was American Tracy Hughes, who came here for the first time to run her 65th half-marathon.

“It was difficult, but it’s more scenic and beautiful,” she said of the course.

While Ms. Hughes and others have competed in dozens of running events, others were trying it out for the first time.

Cayman resident Kuba Jahnl said he never ran more than 3.1 miles before getting roped into the marathon relay by his colleagues at CML. He said he started at 7:20 a.m. when it was still relatively cool, but started to struggle as it got hotter and hotter.

However, “I feel great now that I’m holding the beer,” he said after finishing his 6.2-mile leg of the relay in about an hour.

Ms. Kelly said she thinks the marathon relay is one of the reasons the event continues to grow. Runners who compete in the relay often graduate to the half-marathon, and are replaced by new first-time runners in the relay, she explained.

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