The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, so there can be no better reason to get training and celebrate with more than 1,000 other runners on Sunday 2 December.
Whether you decide to take on the full 42.2 kilometre two loop course of the marathon, the 21.1 kilometre one loop course of the half marathon, or even just a leg of the four person team relay event, there are plenty of options for becoming part of the event.
When the marathon started in 2002, just over 160 athletes participated across the three events on offer, but over the years the event has grown by some 20 per cent per year, to finally break the 1,000 runner barrier in 2011.
One of the biggest growth areas has been the four person team relay, as it allows runners who do not feel up to the longer distances to get a group of friends or colleagues together to challenge the course.
There are numerous divisions to the team event, which allows all male teams, all female teams, mixed teams, and even corporate teams, consisting of any combination of men and women working for the same company, to complete.
This has certainly enhanced the team event because it provides more opportunities to win, especially for the corporate teams which might otherwise have a tough time challenging for an overall podium position.
The event has attracted extensive international competition over the years as well, including groups of runners taking part in the event for charity. A good example is Team Diabetes from Canada which came to the 2011 edition of the event with a group of about 40 runners, and will be returning this year with some 100 runners.
The Kids Fun Run will also take on greater importance this year, as the organisers have partnered with Paul Staso, an ultra endurance runner who has in the past run solo across the USA, Germany and the Mojave Desert.
Through his organisation PACE he is promoting active children everywhere, which just so happens to be what the acronym PACE is short for. According to the organisers the idea is to have Paul visit schools in Cayman to get the kids training for the run by logging their training, with the goal of having completed 25.7 miles before race day and completing the last 0.5 miles at the Kids Fun Run, which would add up to the full 26.2 miles of a standard marathon.
Registration for the marathon, half marathon and four person is available through the event website, www.caymanislandsmarathon.com
The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is sponsored by the Department of Tourism; Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture; Gatorade; Flowers Bottled Water; Digicel; Cayman National; Cayman First; Breezes By the Bay Restaurant; Kirk Freeport; 106.1 KISS FM; Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, CayCompass.com; NCI Services; Dolphin Discovery; Conyers Dill & Pearman; MILO; Cayman Airways; FastSigns; RVC Rehab/BioFreeze; Bliss Living Yoga Cayman; Coppertone; Tropicana Tours; Quaker; CUC; RE/MAX Cayman Islands; KPMG; CayBrew Light; Smoothie King; Scotiabank; The Final Touch; Harneys; Coca-Cola; Cayman Imports Ltd.; Cost-U-Less; and KRyS Global.
The current course record for the marathon is held by Justin Grunewald who ran a 2:36:23 in 2011, while Julie Stackhouse holds the women’s record of 3:06:17, which she ran in 2006.
The half marathon record was set by Marius Acker in 2010 at 1:15:49, with Maria Mays setting the women’s record in 2006 at 1:26:58.
Don’t play catch-up:
If you feel that you are running behind on your training or you missed a session, don’t try and squeeze too much training into the last month. It is more likely to harm your run that to help it. Rather revise your goal time in order to be more in line with your level of fitness.
Don’t try something new
Try everything you will be using on the big day in training. This means nutrition, shoes, clothing and whatever else you plan on having with you. Do this early enough so that you can still fine tune or discard things that do not work for you. Never turn up at the start in a new pair of shoes, unless you are a big fan of blisters, injuries and losing toenails.
Taking a short jog before the start of the marathon ensures that your muscles will be warm and ready for action when the gun goes. However, don’t overdo it, as you do not want to start the run tired.
It is very easy to get caught up in the moment and set off like a scalded cat when the starter’s pistol goes. However, a couple of miles down the road you will find yourself in trouble, and your marathon time will end up being much slower for it. Save it for the last five miles, not the first five.
The Cayman Islands Marathon is a fun event, so enjoy it. If you are just focussed on bettering your past time, even a good run can feel like a failure. However, if you enjoy the scenery and the company, the run will be enjoyable and memorable regardless of what the clock says when you cross the line.