Organisers of the upcoming Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon say the run will look different this year in a bid to ensure all COVID-19 precautions are observed, with staggered starts and no spectators at the finish line.
The event, which consists of a marathon, half-marathon and four-person relay, as well as the Milo and Ministry of Sports-sponsored Kids Fun Run, will take place on Sunday, 6 Dec.
“We are just really thankful that we are actually able to host the Marathon this year given the current situation globally, and its ripple effect here in Cayman,” said Rhonda Kelly, co-race director, in a press release. “So many other running events around the world that some of our local runners were planning to participate in were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 which, of course, was disappointing for them.
“We’re glad they can still ‘Run Cayman’, and we appreciate the support and cooperation they’ve given us as we implement these new, and hopefully one-time-only rules for the race.”
She said the marathon’s organising team had met with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to obtain guidance on the best way to hold the event while ensuring participants are safe and that the run adheres to Public Health COVID-19 requirements, especially as they relate to the 500-person gathering limit.
Below are the restrictions that have been put in place, as well as some adjustments that have been made.
- Two start times – Full-marathon participants, relay teams and a select group of half-marathon runners will start the race at 4:30am, while the bulk of half-marathon participants will begin at 5am. The 5am starters will be corralled away from the 4:30am participants so that the 500 gathering limit is observed.
- No spectators – Participants have been told to ask their supporters not to come to the start/finish line on Harbour Drive to see them begin or complete the race. In addition, participants will not be able to linger around the finish line to wait for other participants to finish their race as they have done in the past. Instead, they have been asked to take advantage of the refreshments, beer and complimentary massage, and then leave the site.
- Early awards ceremony – The awards ceremony for the half-marathon will take place at 9:30am, two hours earlier than previous years, to facilitate people leaving the area sooner. The awards for the full marathon and team relay participants will take place at the usual time of 11:30am.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 will be awarded for their achievements. In addition, the top three teams in the corporate, all-male, all-female and mixed-relay competitions will receive awards. The CUC High School Challenge relay winners will also receive awards.
- Pre-packaged refreshments – Volunteers will package fruit at the start/finish line so that runners can just grab and go, reducing unnecessary contact. In addition, Caybrew Light beer will be served in cans and not cups.
- No on-site prize drawings for Kids Fun Run – The random prize drawings at the end of the Milo Kids Fun Run will be done the next day by organisers, and parents will be contacted to collect their children’s prizes. Kids will get their Milo refreshments at the end of their fun run and parents should leave with them immediately afterwards to avoid crowding at the finish line for that event.
“We know this is a lot to get used to,” Kelly said. “Our participants are used to hanging around the finish line cheering each other on, supporting one another and just having a good time. We are hoping that these restrictions will only be necessary for this year, and more importantly that there will be a spirit of cooperation and understanding out in George Town on race day as we celebrate life, health and the gift of being able to gather together to do something we love.”
The marathon will be a more local event than usual this year as, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and Cayman’s partially closed border, the international contingent will not be present.
Kelly said the run usually attracts 250 to 300 runners from the USA, Canada, UK and other countries, with some of them coming year after year to take part.
She said some have deferred their registrations to the 2021 event, while others have opted to participate in the Cayman Islands Marathon virtually – another new element of the race which has been introduced because of the pandemic.
Participants can do the Intertrust Cayman Islands full or half-marathon wherever they are in the world and their souvenir bib, shirt and medal will be mailed to them after the race.
“The virtual option is a new component of the race that we just might keep in the future,” Kelly said. “Virtual races have been increasing in popularity for a while now, but the pandemic has accelerated interest in this type of running event. For some people, it just isn’t the same as being here in the Cayman Islands but for others it’s the next best thing and they still get the race swag.”
So far, 73 people have signed up to run the virtual race, including 13 Cayman residents. The rest come from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Bermuda, Hungary, Jamaica and Luxembourg.
As of Thursday, organisers had confirmed 59 full marathoners, 654 half-marathon entrants and 70 teams entered for the relay.
Usually about 100 people register at the Packet Pick Up event, the day before the race, but Kelly said that, for the first time, there may not be any last-minute registrations if the entries reach the limit for the three events.
Kids Fun Run
The Kids Fun Run, which is open to children ages 5 to 11, will start at 10:30am 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 and is expected to bring in approximately 300 kids.
As in previous years, there will be a slightly staggered start for the little ones, with the older 10- to 11-year olds starting first, followed by the 7- to 9-year olds, and the 5- to 6-year olds bringing up the rear.
Appeal to keep roads clear
Organisers are asking for the public’s cooperation during the race by keeping traffic along the race route to a minimum, particularly Walkers Road, South Church Street and South Sound.
In addition, people who live along the route are being asked to secure their dogs in their yards and turn on their Christmas lights if they have any from 4am on the morning of 6 Dec.
The race starts at the George Town 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.
Registration for the 2020 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay and Milo Kids Fun Run is still open online, and walk-in registration can be done at the Kelly Holding office. For more information, email [email protected] or call 623-8822.