January 21, 2022

Cayman Marathon takes place this weekend

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Eduardo Bernal

The 2021 Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon will take place this weekend on Sunday, 5 December, with several adjustments and new protocols in place to adhere to the current Public Health regulations and ensure participants, volunteers and officials are as safe as possible.  

“We were really looking forward to returning to our normal setup this year, as well as welcoming back more of our overseas runners, who are so eager to travel to Cayman again. However, as COVID-19 continues to impact our community, we had to make significant but necessary adjustments to ensure that those who want to participate will still be able to do so, and safely,” said Co-Race Director Rhonda Kelly of Kelly Holding Events & Communications.  “We appreciate that some of the changes that we have to implement this year may not be ideal or convenient – for neither our participants nor us as organisers – but we ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation once again as we do our best to provide a safe, enjoyable experience on race day.”

Tara Thompson

The organising team applied to Cabinet and RCIPS for approval to stage the event and to obtain guidance on the best way to execute the race, keep participants safe and adhere to Public Health COVID-19 requirements. Guidelines that have been put in place include:

  • Four start times – to adhere to the 250-person gathering limit for outdoors, there will be four start times (4:30am, 4:45am, 5:00am, 5:15am) to accommodate the almost 1000 participants who are expected to line up on Sunday morning. In addition, the original start/finish line has been moved to Hard Rock Café on South Church Street to allow for enhanced social distancing measures by utilising the Bayshore Mall parking lot.
  • Corrals – the runners will gather in four separate areas as they await the start of their race. 
  • No spectators – participants have been told to ask their supporters not to come to the start/finish line to see them start and/or finish 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 and then leave the site as soon as possible.
  • Early awards ceremony – the awards ceremony for the half marathon event will take place at 9:30am, two hours earlier than previous years, to facilitate persons leaving the area sooner. In the past, half marathon runners expecting awards would have to wait until 11:30am.  The awards for the full marathon and team relay participants will take place at the usual time of 11:30am. 
  • Pre-packaged refreshments – volunteers will package the fruit at the start/finish line so that runners can just grab and go, reducing unnecessary contact. In addition, the Caybrew Light beer will be served in cans and not cups.
  • No on-site prize drawings for Kids Fun Run – this year 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.    
  • A virtual race option – those persons who are not comfortable participating in the race with others can register to run the distance by themselves or with fewer people and still receive a souvenir t-shirt and medal. The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s UK office has partnered with the Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon and Real Buzz Events to offer the Cayman Virtual Running Experience which features a full and half marathon, as well as 10k and 5k options. To date, 170-plus persons from around the world have registered to run Cayman virtually. Residents can sign up at RunCayman.com. 
Katie Lambert

At the time of writing, organisers confirm 65 full marathoners, 595 half marathon entrants and 69 teams entered for the relay, and there are usually a few stragglers who sign up the day before the race.  

Late registration and Packet Pick Up for registered participants will take place at the Westin Resort on Saturday, 4 December between 9am and 5pm. Persons can ask the Race Directors any questions about the event as well as get last minute injury prevention tips, courtesy of Dr. Prathap Vincent from Health City’s Orthopaedic Department. 

Lucas Dato

“We are quite proud to continue our long-standing partnership with the Cayman Islands Marathon. A healthy population is important for any society, and with hundreds of people preparing for the event, from a competitive standpoint or

toward a goal of lifestyle changes, it is heartening to witness such commitments to healthy lifestyles,” said Shomari Scott, Health City Chief Business Officer. “We wish participants all the best for a fun and injury-free run. In the unfortunate event that someone picks up an injury or unwanted aches and pains, we are offering free consultations with our orthopaedic specialists for all 2021 marathon participants, as part of Health City’s sponsorship.”

Health City will have a table at Packet Pick Up alongside the Crisis Centre, CCMI and Guardians Alive. 

The Kids Fun Run, sponsored by MILO and the Ministry of Youth & Sports, will start at 10:15am 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 is expected to bring in about 200 kids this year. 

Ms. Kelly said people are excited and determined to participate in the event, despite the challenges of the past year, and indeed the past few weeks as the community continues to contend with COVID-19. Many of them 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.

Katie Lambert

Marathon Stories 

  • H.E. the Governor Martyn Roper will be participating once again in the four-person relay alongside Dr. John Lee to raise funds for Jasmine, and will be joined by Darrel Evans and Gregley Gayle.  Other charities for which funds are being raised this year through the marathon include the Cadet Corps and Cancer Society (the event’s major charities), Inclusion Cayman, Red Cross, Feed Our Future, Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI), Crisis Centre, Alex Panton Foundation, NCVO and Meals on Wheels. 
  • Heidi Fahy (half marathon) started running in her 50s and says age is no barrier.
  • Eduardo Bernal (half marathon) says the Cayman marathon is a celebration of life, a sum of energy and good health for him.
  • Lydia Rowlands (half marathon) of Essex in the UK is a Miss Great Britain 2021 finalist who has been communicating with Miss Cayman Islands Universe 2020 – Mariah Tibbetts – and will be meeting and doing some charity work with her as part of her visit to the island.  She will also be coaching and playing with the National Netball Team. 

“My dad completed the half last year and the whole family was all so proud of him! This year I want to complete it alongside my dad so we can achieve something amazing and create memories together,” said Miss Rowlands.

  • Danryl Franz Sarmiento (half marathon) said he gained so much weight during the pandemic due to less activities and this event motivates him to get back in shape and make a new achievement.
  • “I have been participating in the Cayman Islands Marathon since 2011, the year my mother passed away after succumbing to cancer. I first began with relays but graduated to the half five years ago. I will be running the half again this year in memory of my dear mother, all those who have lost their lives to cancer and those who are currently going through this horrible disease themselves. This is also for everyone who has lost loved ones or have loved ones battling cancer now,” said Tara Thompson (half marathon).
  • Lourdes Sanchez, Jeremiah Del Sol, Emmaculate Mutuku and Katharine Reid are all participating in their first half marathon this year. 
  • Lucus Dato (full marathon) quit smoking in May and started running. He said the more he cared about running, the more he knew he would never be able to smoke again. “I run to stop smoking. I run to be my best self.”
  • Kieron Rankine (half marathon) says the event is a great opportunity to get some fresh area, be charitable, and walk the same distance his parents used to walk just to get to school.
  • Katie Lambert (full marathon) is doing her very first long run in honour and memory of her mother. 

“I lost my mom to ALS when I was younger. She was a marathon runner; she loved running. I have so many memories of her running while I was growing up. This year I am doing my first marathon for my mom! I want to share this experience with her,” said Ms. Lambert.

  • “My wife registered me while I was away!” said Hrachya ‘Charlie’ Sargsyan. .
  • This will be Ephantus Thumbi’s third half marathon. He started running in 2019 and has improved each year. He wants to do better in 2021 before he attempts the full marathon in 2022.
  • Ian Smith, and his teammates on F45 Team BCF, will be running for and with a friend and former colleague, who is a breast cancer survivor. The team will be running in special pink tops that their friend designed, and F45 sold, to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation during the month of October.
  • Ria Scott Blyth, Tiffany Turrell, Abbey Le Cornu and Kellie Sandy are lacing up as the NICU Ninjas team.  

“We are running to raise money for a new CPAP Machine for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at George Town Hospital. The machine they currently have is for premature babies and does not fit full term babies. We are four mums who live in Cayman and whose babies have spent time in the NICU this year,” said Ms. Scott Blyth.

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 5 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.  

Registration for the 2021 Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon, half marathon, four-person relay and Milo Kids Fun Run is open online at CaymanIslandsMarathon.com until midnight on Wednesday, 1 December. Late registration takes place at the Westin Resort on Saturday, 4 December from 9am to 5pm. 

The Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon is also sponsored by the Ministry of Youth & Sports, CG BritCay, Mykonos by LXL, Health City Cayman Islands, Flowers Bottled Water, Doctors Hospital, Compass Media, Bank of China Grand Cayman Branch, FastSigns, Wata, GNC, Gatorade, Massive, Mike’s Ice, Explore Cayman, CUC, Milo, Quaker, Cayman Physiotherapy, Cost-U-Less, Department of Tourism, Kelly Holding Events & Communications, Hopscotch Productions, Smoothie King, Bliss Living Yoga, McAlpine, CayLight and Marshall’s Rent-A-Car.

For more information about the race, call Rhonda Kelly at KHL Events & Communications on 623.8823, email [email protected] or visit CaymanIslandsMarathon.com. Follow @CaymanMarathon on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for news and updates.

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