The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many events in Cayman to be postponed or cancelled outright but the annual Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half-Marathon and 4-Person Relay as well as the Milo and Ministry of Sports-sponsored Kids Fun Run will take place as planned. Organisers say the races on Sunday, 6 December will look a bit different this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions but nevertheless the excitement and anticipation is building for the island’s premier running event.
“We are just really thankful that we are actually able to host the Marathon this year given the current situation globally, and its ripple effect here in Cayman,” said Rhonda Kelly, Co-Race Director. “So many other running events around the world that some of our local runners were planning to participate in were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 which of course was disappointing for them. We’re glad they can still ‘Run Cayman’, and we appreciate the support and cooperation they’ve given us as we implement these new, and hopefully one-time-only rules for the race.”
The organising team have had meetings with the RCIPS to obtain guidance on the best way to execute the event in order to keep participants safe and adhere to Public Health COVID-19 requirements, especially as it relates to the 500-person gathering limit. Below are the restrictions that have been put in place as well as some adjustments that have been made.
• Two start times – full marathon participants, relay teams and a select group of half marathon runners will start the race at 4:30am while the bulk of half marathon participants will begin at 5:00am. The 5:00am starters will be corralled away from the 4:30am participants so that the 500 gathering limit is observed.
• NO spectators – participants have been told to ask their supporters not to come to the start/finish line on Harbour Drive to see then 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, beer and complimentary massage and then leave the site.
• 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.
The top three male and female marathoners and half marathoners in the 29 and under, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and over age categories will be awarded for their achievements. The top three teams in the corporate, all-male, all-female and mixed relay competitions will receive awards. The CUC High School challenge relay winners will also receive awards.
• 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.
“We know this is a lot to get used to. Our participants are used to hanging around the finish line cheering each other on, supporting one another and just having a good time. We are hoping that these restrictions will only be necessary for this year, and more importantly that there will be a spirit of cooperation and understanding out in George Town on race day as we celebrate life, health and the gift of being able to gather together to do something we love,” said Ms. Kelly.
The Marathon usually attracts 250 to 300 runners from the USA, Canada, UK and other countries further afield who travel with their families and friends to participate. Some of them have been coming for years to run Cayman. However, Ms. Kelly said the travel and quarantine restrictions currently in place in Cayman have prohibited most visitors from coming this year. As a result, some have deferred their registrations to the 2021 event while others have opted to participate in the Cayman Islands Marathon virtually, yet another new element of the race which has been introduced because of the pandemic. Participants can do the Intertrust Cayman Islands full or half marathon wherever they are in the world and their souvenir bib, shirt and medal will be mailed to them after the race.
“The virtual option is a new component of the race that we just might keep in the future. Virtual races have been increasing in popularity for a while now, but the pandemic has accelerated interest in this type of running event. For some people it just isn’t the same as being here in the Cayman Islands but for others it’s the next best thing and they still get the race swag. Personally, we love to see our runners in person but unfortunately that is not an option in 2020. We are really looking forward to seeing our regulars and some new faces next year though,” said Ms. Kelly.
Seventy-three people will be running Cayman virtually. Thirteen of these are Cayman residents. The rest of the virtual participants are from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Bermuda, Hungary, Jamaica and Luxembourg.
At the time of writing, organisers confirm 59 full marathoners, 654 half marathon entrants and 70 teams entered for the relay. There are about 100 new registrations at Packet Pick Up the day before the race but Ms. Kelly said that for the first time there may not be any last-minute registrations if the entries reach the limit for the three events.
The Kids Fun Run, sponsored by MILO and the Ministry of Youth & Sports, will start at 10:30am at the new Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue and end just past the finish line on the corner of Cardinall Avenue and Harbour Drive. This event is free for students between the ages of 5 and 11 years old and is expected to bring in approximately 300 kids. As in previous years, there will be a slightly staggered start for the little ones with the older 10 to 11-year olds starting first, followed by the 7 to 9-year olds with the little 5 to 6-year olds bringing up the rear.
Organisers are asking for the public’s cooperation during the race by keeping traffic along the race route to a minimum, particularly Walkers Road, South Church Street and South Sound. In addition, 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 6 December.
The race starts at on the George Town Waterfront, by Sharkeez Bar & Grill 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 Breezes.
Registration for the 2020 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay and Milo Kids Fun Run is still open online, and walk-in registration can also be done at the Kelly Holding office. For more information, email info@CaymanIslandsMarathon.com or call 623-8822.
The Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is also sponsored by the Ministry of Sports, CG BritCay, Health City Cayman Islands, Gatorade, Milo, Flowers Bottled Water, Department of Tourism, Bank of China Grand Cayman Branch, FastSigns, Hurley’s Media, Netclues, Wata, Doctors Hospital, Massive, CUC, Quaker, Cayman Physiotherapy, Kelly Holding Events & Communications, Cost-U-Less, CayLight, Smoothie King, Bliss Living Yoga, Hopscotch Productions, Marshall’s Rent-A-Car and GNC.
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