The much-loved St. Patrick’s Day 5k Irish Jog turns 25 this year! Started as part of Butterfield’s 25th Anniversary celebrations in 1993, the Jog (as it is fondly referred to by the organizers) has grown each year to raise more funds for the islands’ most deserving charities and not-for-profit organizations.
The Jog has been close to the hearts of Cayman’s Irish community since its inception. Then Managing Director, Nick Duggan, an Irishman from Waterford, led the initiative with support from Butterfield staff, and co-sponsors Red Sail Sports and the Hyatt Regency, who also had a large number of Irish employees. Malcom Jennings and Phil Kendall, General Managers of the Hyatt in the 1990s, were particularly instrumental in ensuring the Jog’s success over the years. Former Hyatt employees and fellow Irish, Marina Flynn, Noelle Kelly and Mick Kehoe, have been volunteering at the Jog for over 20 years, are still valued members of the organizing team.
Several of Butterfield’s longstanding employees remember it as one of the island’s first “fun” runs, where you didn’t have to be an athlete to win a prize. “The aim was to encourage people to come out and exercise to be healthy,” explained Conor O’Dea, Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited. “Nick and I chatted about how to mark the Bank’s 25th Anniversary in Cayman and, both being Irish, we decided St. Patrick’s Day would be a great day for a fun, health-focused community event.”
In 1993, the entry fee was $10 and fees have not increased since then. “Many people comment on how we could raise more funds by increasing the price of entry, but by keeping the registration fee at $10 we can encourage more people to take part – and we welcome any additional donations!” commented Jennifer Powery from Butterfield, who has volunteered every year since the Jog began.
The 2005 Irish Jog was a particularly memorable race, as Hurricane Ivan had devastated the Hyatt property the previous September. With the same strong spirit that helped to rebuild Grand Cayman in the aftermath, the organizing team made sure the course was ready and the Jog carried on – business as usual. Fittingly, the proceeds of that Jog went to the Cayman Islands National Recovery Fund.
This year, Dart takes up the torch as Butterfield’s co-sponsor of the Irish Jog. Chris Duggan, VP Dart Enterprises Ltd said “we’re pleased to be able to accommodate the Irish Jog at Britannia once again. The course will be ready for all of the Irish Jog runners, joggers and walkers and we’re excited to partner with Butterfield on one of the islands’ favorite family events.”