By Christopher Tobutt
More than 1200 runners got up long before dawn for the 2019 Cayman Islands Marathon on Sunday 8 December. It started right outside Sharkeez on the waterfront. The full marathon is 26.2 miles, which was a grueling two times round the course, which wound its way all the way out to Prospect Point and back. The annual event attracts many international athletes, and this year one of the international star athletes was UK Olympian, Christopher Thompson, amongst others, who gained a new course record in the half-marathon. The whole of the course was full of volunteers directing the traffic, offering water, and making sure everyone was safe. The marathon has been growing bigger each year, and now it is in its 16th year. It was early in the morning, but then most of the runners had been practicing for many months, or even years for this event, so they were used to getting up early in the morning.
But many were doing the half-marathon, just over 13miles, or once around the course. It was a spectacular sight to see when the final countdown sounded and all the runners raced along South Church Street. The weather was nice and cool, with a Christmas breeze coming off the sea.
In the full marathon, Phil Reed, in the M40-49 category came first, with a time of 2:57:50.1. Steve Speirs in the M50-59 category came second, with a time of 3.01:31.5. Third came Sean Liley, in the M29 category, with a time of 3.03:32.7, and fourth was Abraham Whittaker in the M29 category, with a time of 3. 05.06.6 Lindy-Lee Folscher in the F30-39 category was the first female over the line, with a time of 03.15:05.5 and the Second female was Beth Florek, in the F30-39 category with a time of 3.15:21.6
The third female was Lindsay Taylor-Watson, in the F30-39 category, with a time of 188.8.131.52 and fourth was Kym Bailey, in the F40-49 category, with a time of 184.108.40.206
In the half-marathon, Olympian Christopher Thompson in the M30-39 category won, with a time of 1.07:47.5. He was a long way ahead of all the rest, and didn’t seem at all tired afterwards. “It was awesome,” he said, “There were many people out there, and they’re more awake than I am. You people are awesome. Can I stay here forever please?” he asked the crowd. “I didn’t have a plan,” he said. “I’m glad I got the course record, because hopefully now my name will be on the island marathon for a while.” Second came Esmond Brown in the M30-39 category, with a time of 1.21:24.6. Third was Patrick Harfield in the M40-49 category, with a time of 01:22:20.3, The first female was Leigh Sharek, in the F30-39 category, all the way from Brooklyn, New York with a time of 1:23:53.5, and the second female was Olivier Shanks with at time of 1.29:59.0
In the 4-person marathon relay, the winning team was Team Appleby Athletic Club with a time of 2:39:11.4
Later in the day there was also a much shorter Kids Fun Run, so that nobody gets left out of the fun.