Cayman Islands resident Luis Sanchez Jr. doesn’t get to see his son nor his father as often as he’d like. His son lives in the United States. His father, Luis Sanchez Sr., lives in Puerto Rico.

On Sunday, however, they’ll all be in Grand Cayman for the Cayman Islands Marathon.

“It’s amazing because we have three different generations running this event,” said Luis Sanchez Jr., who ran in the relay event last year. 

“I figured this year it would be cool for all three of us to meet up and do it together.”

Luis Sr., 62, and Luis Jr., 46, are both retired military veterans from the US Army and US Marines. With his 17-year-old son, Elian, planning on entering the military as well, this family affair is about celebrating all the Sanchez men have in common. On Sunday, that will mean running 13.1 miles together.

“I think it brings us together greatly,” Sanchez Jr. said. 

“…We try to find common ground of something that brings us together. Running and that family bond that we have brings us all together.

They won’t be the only parent-child running partners.

Cayman resident Wanda Rice’s mother was always very active, running full marathons, climbing mountains and doing triathlons. Wanda has followed suit, participating in many athletic events on island.  Wanda’s mother was diagnosed in 2010 with stage four lung cancer. Still in remission and at 76 years old, Wanda and her mother plan to run the half-marathon together.

Meanwhile, the 13.1-mile journey Cayman Islands resident Kurt McKenzie is set to run on Sunday pales in comparison to another journey he’s taken.

In August of 2017, McKenzie weighed 311 pounds. Since then, he’s dropped down to 199 lbs. He walked the half-marathon in 2018. He plans to run it this year.

More than a thousand runners from around the world will travel to Cayman to be a part of the 17th annual Cayman Islands Marathon Sunday. Last year a record 1,350 runners participated in the event. Hundreds of them come from off-island.

“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 honour to be a part of their stories,” said race director Rhonda Kelly.

Charlotte Mlynar, who lives in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and will be running her fifth half-marathon, is devoted her run to her father. 

“I was joined in the first two by my dad,” she said. “Sadly, he passed away last year, so this race will be for him.”

Katie Correia will be running the half-marathon for the Central Caribbean Marine Institute.

“The ‘Reef Relief Squad’ is running for a cause close to my heart,” she said. “I’ve never been as passionate about anything as I am about taking care of our home planet and more specifically our oceans.”

Darren Raiguel, from Virginia, has completed 88 full marathons since 2009 in all 50 US states. The Cayman Islands Marathon holds a special place in his heart.

“I love the island,” Raiguel said. “This is probably my seventh or eighth trip to Grand Cayman, including my honeymoon way back in 1994. Over the past decade alone, I’ve probably visited three or four times and have run many miles all over George Town during those vacations. Caymanians are so welcoming and friendly, the water and weather is amazing, beaches are beautiful, great restaurants, and it’s very safe, I could go on and on.”

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