September 22, 2021

Cayman Islands Marathon gives back to community and helps participants achieve goals

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Participants in last year’s Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon raised over USD9000 online for several local charities, and organisers hope that more people will use the event – scheduled for Sunday, 8 December this year – to bring awareness and support to the many non-profit and charity organisations in the community. The lion’s share of funds raised was for Jasmine (formerly Cayman HospiceCare), which received almost USD5500. Cayman Islands Red Cross also received almost USD1500 in online donations thanks to local runner Oddy Grullon who ‘ran for red’ and a little over USD1000 was raised for ALS Canada by Cayman resident Kristina Wight. Other organisations for whom money was raised include the Cancer Society, Feed Our Future, Special Needs Foundation and Youth Anti-Crime Trust.

“Increasingly we are seeing more participants looking to run or walk for a purpose beyond their own personal enjoyment or improvement of their health,” said Rhonda Kelly, Co-Race Director for the Marathon. “Committing to run/walk to raise funds for a charity is a great motivator; knowing that someone else’s life can be positively impacted by your efforts gives you another reason to put in the hours of training and sacrifice necessary to get across that finish line.”

Ms. Kelly said participants can create a fundraising page when they register online for the full marathon, half marathon or four-person relay, set their goal, and then send out a link to family, friends and supporters which will allow them to donate from anywhere in the world.

One 2019 participant – Patrice Donalds-Morgan – will be running with a purpose in December as she tackles her first full marathon (26.2 miles) and aims to raise $10,000 for the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation (ESRF).

Perhaps best known in the community as a dancer who has represented the Cayman Islands on both local and international stages, Donalds-Morgan, 46, also competed in various track and field events when she was younger (100m, 200m, long jump, triple jump, 400m, 800m and cross-country). However, in her teen years she had to make the decision to focus on dance once she realised the training for both disciplines was incompatible, evidenced by the amount of injuries she was sustaining. Since then she has participated in some of the 5K running events that take place on the island and in the Cayman Islands Half Marathon (2012, 2015) and Four-Person Relay (2016). Now she says she is ready to take on the longer distance.

“I participated in my second half marathon and the team event to raise funds for the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation because of my own experience of being in an abusive relationship. Completing the race and raising funds served the dual purpose of proving that I could do it and helping someone else at the same time. I was a few years into my healing journey and dealing with deep-seated confidence issues so I needed to know that I could accomplish something, anything,” said Donalds-Morgan.

“Now that I have done 6 miles and 13.1 miles, I need to challenge myself again. Plus, I am in a better place now; I am much stronger, more healed and less fearful of being in the public eye again. For a while, I had difficulty being in large crowds and spent about two years staying away from most social situations. Highlighting my own journey will inspire others at whatever point they are in their healing process. I needed to see that when I was in the early stages, and I just could not get anyone to give me a straight answer, so I am becoming the reference manual I needed back then. I hope it helps someone, even if it is just one!”

In 2016 Donalds-Morgan set a $5000 fundraising goal for the ESRF but did not achieve it. This year she said she wants the push to be bigger and better which is why she started in January and set such an ambitious goal.

“I will not fail this time! I needed a larger goal to push me and the more money I raise, the more there is to share with the community.”

Donations have been slow in coming which Donalds-Morgan attributes to people thinking it’s too early to commit but she hopes that they will see that she means business and will cross the finish line even if she has to crawl over it.

The money that is raised will help the ESRF with its plans to take the next stage of its advocacy to another level, explained Donalds-Morgan. The organisation will add to what she raises and disseminate the monies to several key Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that are helping the community with programmes which directly impact women and families.

With just about 24 weeks to go before race day, Donalds-Morgan says her training so far has consisted of “amazing highs and soul crushing lows” as she battles pain from previous injuries but she just gives herself the rest and rehabilitation that she needs and gets back out on the road. Her advice to anyone who is thinking about running a full or half marathon and/or using the race to fundraise is to start early.

“Start training and fundraising very early and get a team of supporters, encouragers and training partners together. I have the Daylight Warriors team from the 2016 4-person relay as my champions, and new ones who encourage me at every event I participate in. It makes a huge difference when you are in pain and very tempted to just stop, quit, give up,” she stated. “Celebrate all the wins, no matter how small. I did some of the races while in severe pain, and I took it easy, but I made it to the end! That sense of accomplishment is amazing and can be a source of encouragement for you for weeks, months even.”

To donate to the Beyond The Race fundraiser contact Patrice on 324-7651 or [email protected].

The 2019 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half Marathon, 4-Person Relay and Kids Fun Run takes place on Sunday, 8 December. Online registration is open at www.caymanislandsmarathon.com. For more information email [email protected], call 345.623.8825 or visit www.caymanislandsmarathon.com.

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