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Cayman Marathon takes place this weekend

Photo by @cortezvernon

The 2022 Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon will take place this weekend on Sunday, 4 December, with a return to some semblance of normalcy after two challenging years. The event is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and organisers are excited to welcome back just over 100 visitors and their supporters and also revert back to pre-COVID procedures.   

Photo by @cortezvernon

“We cannot think of a better way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Cayman Islands Marathon than to go back to the way things were before COVID-19 took over the world. Over the past two years, like everyone else, we had to make adjustments and changes to the way we did things, but this year it’s back to the way it used to be, which worked well, and we are so looking forward to that,” said Co-Race Director Rhonda Kelly of Kelly Holding Events & Communications. “We want to thank our runners who have been so supportive over the past couple years as we’ve navigated putting on a race during a pandemic and also our suppliers, sponsors, runners and volunteers who have been a part of our race family over the past 20 years. We appreciate them so much and fully recognise that this event would not happen without them.” 

Photo by @cortezvernon

This year, the race will start at 5am for all participants in the full marathon, half marathon and team relay events, doing away with the staggered starts and corralled spaces that were instituted in 2020 and 2021. There are no gathering restrictions in place so spectators can come out to the start/finish line to cheer their family and friends on, and participants can hang around after crossing the finish line to enjoy the fun post-race atmosphere. The Cayman Physiotherapy recovery tent also makes its return, offering post-race massages and physio for runners.     

Photo by @cortezvernon

At the time of writing, organisers confirm over 1000 participants, consisting of 70 full marathoners, 650 half marathon entrants and 81 teams entered for the four-person relay, and there are usually more than 100 last minute deciders who sign up the day before the race.  

Photo by @cortezvernon

Late registration and Packet Pick Up for registered participants will take place at the Westin Resort on Saturday, 3 December between 9am and 5pm. This is an opportunity for participants to ask the Race Directors any questions they may have about race day. Representatives from CCMI, KidsAbility, Health City, Guardians Alive, Cancer Society and the Addison Kelly Butterfly 5k will also have display tables at the event and sports apparel supplier Sportista will be selling merchandise. 

The Kids Fun Run, sponsored by MILO, the Ministry of Youth & Sports and KidsAbility, will start at 10:30am at the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue and end at Hard Rock Cafe. This event is free for students between the ages of 5 and 11 years old and over 200 kids are registered at the time of writing.

Governor Roper

Each year thousands of dollars are raised for various charities and non-profit organisations via the Cayman Islands Marathon as many participants choose to run for a cause and solicit online donations from friends and family members while others simply add a donation while registering. The 2021 event raised almost USD18,000 with the bulk of funds being donated to the Alex Panton Foundation (almost $6000) and Jasmine (about $4000). Other benefitting entities included Meals On Wheels, CCMI, Cancer Society, Inclusion Cayman, Crisis Centre, Jubilate and the Cadet Corps and Cancer Society which are the event’s official charities. 

Photo by @cortezvernon

This year over US$28,000 has been raised to date with the majority of those funds going to the Crisis Centre and generated by assault survivor Oddy Grullon, who earlier this year decided to run four marathons as a form of therapy after she was attacked while jogging in January. She has completed the Utah, New York and Chicago marathons and will complete her mission here in her home race. 

Photo by @cortezvernon

Mrs. Kelly said many of the runners, like Oddy, have deeply personal reasons for signing on to do a full marathon (26.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles) or a team relay (approx. 6.5 miles each) and are hoping to attain personal goals and/or help inspire others.

Photo by @cortezvernon

Marathon Stories 

  • H.E. the Governor Martyn Roper will be participating once again in the four-person relay with Derek Haines to raise funds for Jasmine, and will be joined by Keiran Hutchison and Scott Ruby.  
  • Type I diabetic Daniella Kratochvil (half) says running a half marathon reminds her that, despite having a challenging chronic illness, she is still capable of doing whatever she sets her mind to.
  • Delia Poole is determined not to let injury after injury deter her from reaching her goal of doing a half marathon in under two hours.
  • Breast cancer survivor Pam Laurenson is doing the half marathon for the first time.
  • “I entered my first Cayman Islands half marathon in 2016 as a goal to help me lose weight and haven’t stopped since. This will be my 7th year in a row,” said Alexandra Ebanks
  • Carrie Williams from San Antonio, TX entered a Drive the Dream contest put on by US automotive retailer Carvana and won her dream experience – the chance to run a half marathon in an exotic location. Carvana’s dream fulfilment team worked with her to create a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cayman and she will run the half marathon with her husband.
  • Seventy-three-year-old David Holmes from Durham, NC is returning with his wife Jeanne to run the full marathon. Cayman is one of 129 countries in which he has run a full marathon and Jeanne, who is participating in the half marathon, will count Cayman as her 62nd country. 
  • Susan Foster-Wilcox from Toronto, Canada ran her first 10K race in Cayman for her 50th birthday and wanted to set a new goal for her 55th birthday celebration.
  • Ephantus Thumbi started recreational running in 2019 when he moved to the Cayman Islands and has run three half marathons (2019, 2020 and 2021) with gradual improvements in his time. He has now challenged himself to run a full marathon before he turns 40 in 2023. 
  • Gabriel Cardenas usually comes out to cheer and take pictures of the participants but this year he’ll be doing the half marathon and hopes that someone will take a picture of him!
  • Charles Jackson from Hattiesburg, Mississippi was born in Cayman to a Jackson from Bodden Town (father) and a Chisholm from North Side (mother). He has been an avid runner since 2005 and says he’s not getting any younger so it’s time to run his island’s race.
  • Claire Jansen Van Rensburg is an avid marathon and ultra-marathon runner from South Africa. She had to defer her entry last because she was pregnant and will now run the half marathon as a first-time mum.
  • “I’m not letting advanced kidney cancer, lung surgeries and chemotherapy get in the way of traveling to wonderful places to run!” says Sam Carranza from Tampa, FL.
  • Christina Couper’s grandparents, now both deceased, had a house on Little Cayman for many years so she has been visiting the islands since childhood. She will be travelling from Charleston, SC to run the full marathon this year in honour of her grandfather, Colin Couper, who passed away this past June.
  • Wil White, Lucretia Stewart, Marie Richardson and Rosa Head, all from different parts of the US, are running Cayman as part of the Five Island Challenge, an international series for runners, who want to escape to tropical locations during the harsh winters. Participants must complete marathons or half marathons in five different destinations – Cayman, Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica and Bahamas – to receive a special marathon, half marathon or “combo-thon” finisher’s medal.
  • The Walkers Cayman Half Marathon is the start of a “crazy” journey for Meredith Whitney as she trains for her first 100-mile trail running race – the Capes 100 – which she will do in August 2023 with her best friend.
  • “This is a culmination of my fitness journey. I started out at 284lbs; I’m currently down to 206lbs and I plan to get way under 200lbs by December when I do the race,” wrote Brandon McLean when he registered for the half marathon on 1 August. “I started running 5k races this year. I have done 10 of them so far all in preparation for the half marathon. I enjoy running and my gym instructor has been encouraging me.”
  • Zion Coe will be lining up for his first full marathon after completing his first half marathon in 2021.
  • Norma Ebanks was a volunteer at the 2011 event. She enjoyed the experience, and thought, “I can do the half-marathon, even if it was by walking”.  At the age of 60 she decided to give it a try. She and a friend trained the whole year, and she ran the 2012 half-marathon at the age of 61. She went on to run seven consecutive half-marathons until hip pain prevented her from continuing. In 2021, she had a hip replacement and now – a year and a half later – she is ready to try the half-marathon again, but as a walker this time.
  • “We just love the Caymans (sic) and try to come back every chance we get,” said Lenne Stricker from Gun Barrel City, TX.
  • Aronfeld Spencer was raised and educated in the US but his father is a proud Caymanian and so he is doing the half marathon to honour his father on his 84th birthday.
  • Kelley Garcia and her husband Joaquin will return to run Cayman after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Before that the couple from New Mexico were a part of the race for 11 consecutive years, Kelley as a full marathoner and Joaquin as a finish line volunteer.
  • British Olympian Chris Thompson will return to Cayman to run the full marathon. He ran the half distance in 2019 and broke the course record with a time of 1:07:47. His wife Jemma will run the half.
  • Gina McBryan is the winner of the race’s Nominate A Friend promotion. Nominated by friend Rohan Marshall, Gina is running her first half marathon. Her story received the most likes in social media voting competition and as a result Gina won a prize package that included free yoga classes from Bliss Yoga Cayman, nutrition consultations with Cayman Nutrition, race training courtesy of 7 Mile Strength & Fitness, new running gear from Sportista, free smoothies from Smoothie King and physiotherapy support from Cayman Physiotherapy.
Kelly and Joaquin Garcia Return After 2 Years

Organisers are asking for the public’s cooperation during the race by keeping traffic along the race route to a minimum, and in particular those 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 4:00am on the morning of 4 December.

The race starts on the George Town Waterfront in front of Hard Rock Café 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 Hard Rock Café.  

Lakeisha Mason

Registration for the 2022 Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon, half marathon, four-person relay and Milo Kids Fun Run is open online at until midnight on Wednesday, 30 November. Late registration takes place at the Westin Resort on Saturday, 3 December from 9am to 5pm. 

The Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon is also sponsored by the Ministry of Youth & Sports, CG BritCay, Mykonos by LXL, Department of Tourism, Health City Cayman Islands, Flowers Bottled Water, Cayman Airways, Cayman National, Tag Heuer, Compass Media, Logic, Kirk Freeport, FastSigns, Wata, Gatorade, Massive, KidsAbility, Mike’s Ice, Netclues, What’s On Cayman, CUC, Milo, Quaker, Cayman Physiotherapy, Cost-U-Less, Kelly Holding Events & Communications, Hopscotch Productions, Smoothie King, McAlpine, CayLight and Marshall’s Rent-A-Car.

Photo by @cortezvernon

For more information about the race, call 623.8823, email [email protected] or visit Follow @CaymanMarathon on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for news and updates.


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