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Cayman Marathon A First for Many

Sports 19 Oct, 2023 Follow News

Cayman Marathon A First for Many

On Sunday, 3 December, the finish line of the Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon will be the scene of much excitement as marathon, half marathon and relay runners alike celebrate significant milestones achieved and personal challenges overcome. From triumphs over life-threatening illnesses to the memorialising of a special birthday or wedding anniversary to running in remembrance or honour of a loved one or a favourite charity to just proving to oneself that it can indeed be done, there will be no shortage of inspiration at this event.

Chris Brunsdon, 28, will join that exclusive segment of the world’s population – less than one per cent – who have ever run a full marathon (26.2 miles). Brunsdon, a senior accountant at Dart, ran the half marathon in 2021 and 2022, after which time he decided to take on the long run in 2023.

“Growing up, I always admired my dad’s dedication towards running and his tenacity. He’s completed between 35 to 45 marathons, most of them in our native South Africa, but also abroad in places like Rio (Brazil), Lisbon and Athens. Looking at his running experience, I’ve wanted to tackle a full marathon for some time, but I’ve put off doing it because the training schedules look quite daunting!” said Brunsdon. “I go on long Sunday morning runs with my friend James, and we both agreed at the end of last year that we would run a full marathon in 2023. In August, out of the blue James told me he had registered for the Cayman marathon, so I signed up soon after to make sure we both stick to our commitment.”

Brunsdon is an avid runner and participates in running activities such as the weekly Wednesday Night Running Club (WNRC) and the Jessie’s Juice Run on Saturdays. He’s also a regular on the 5k circuit and has done most of the 5k fun runs on the island. Two of the more interesting runs he has done this year are the Ryde-A-Thon Challenge where he participated in three hours of running and three hours of spinning and a 30km (approximately 19 miles) trek around West Bay in honour of a friend’s 30th birthday.

Brunsdon said he decided to make the Cayman marathon his first long run after talking to several local runners.

“The majority of people I spoke to who have done the full Cayman marathon say it’s a tough race, but worth it! I also think it will be really cool to run and have familiar faces alongside, both for the run and spectating,” he said.

Brunsdon started his training at the end of August using a 16-week programme he received from a friend. It consists of five runs a week at different distances, the longest being his Sunday run where he clocks approximately 22 miles. He also incorporates two days of strength training at the gym each week to help prevent injuries.

Putting in those formidable distances in preparation for a marathon gives people a lot of time to reflect. For Brunsdon, the many hours spent pounding the pavement have taught him a few things.

“I’ve learned to enjoy being alone on long runs and having time to clear my mind. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to be sore, tired or slower than I expected; the real challenge is to keep going, even if it is slowly. It’s also been amazing to see the level of motivation from my friends and [wife] Michaela while training. With so many of us either doing the half or full in December, the running has been integrated into our friendship groups, rather than making it more difficult to see friends.”

Not surprisingly, as Cayman’s temperatures seem to keep rising, his biggest complaint about training so far has been the amount of sweating he’s experienced, especially on the longer Sunday morning runs. However, he and Michaela – who is training for the half marathon – have found ways to combat the humidity and keep themselves hydrated, such as post-run smoothie dates.

When asked what his goals and expectations for the marathon are, Brunsdon said he would like to complete it in 4:10, but may adjust that to four hours, depending on how he feels closer to the time and his progress with the training programme.

“I’m looking at the race as two half marathons; that is, I expect that I will have a lot of support and friends also running at the same time for the first 13.1 miles while the second half will be hot and might get a little quiet out on the roads.”

With the Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon just weeks away, completing the half marathon or team relay may be more reasonable and attainable than attempting to train for a full marathon but Race Director Rhonda Kelly says Brunsdon had the right idea in committing early.

“The key to accomplishing ambitious goals such as completing a full or half marathon is commitment. Once the commitment is made both financially and mentally, there’s a level of accountability that follows and that is what gets people to the start and finish line, along with the support of friends and family, of course. There’s still time to register for this year’s event but December is also a great time to make a commitment for the new year. Speaking from personal experience, the feeling of accomplishment is like none other,” said Kelly.

Brunsdon echoed Kelly’s sentiments.

“If you are thinking about running a full, I think the most important thing is to first commit to running, and then prioritise time on the legs and getting out for those long runs. It also helps to have friends and family around to participate with you or support throughout the process. It’s like the African proverb that says, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. This is definitely far!”

The public is invited to come out and support Chris and the other 1300+ expected runners on 3 December.  The race starts at 5am.

Registration for the marathon, half marathon, four-person relay and the Kids Fun Run is open online at CaymanIslandsMarathon.com.

The Walkers Cayman Islands Marathon is also sponsored by Department of Tourism, Ministry of Youth and Sports, CG BritCay, Sotheby’s International Realty, Health City, Flowers Bottled Water, Gatorade, Cayman National, Cayman Airways, Logic, Wata, Kirk Freeport, Caybrew, FastSigns, Karv, Milo, Netclues, Massive, CUC, Quaker, Mike’s Ice, What’s On Cayman, Cayman Physio, Kelly Holding, Cost U Less, McAlpine, Hopscotch Productions, Marshalls Rent-A-Car and Compass Media.

For more information email info@CaymanIslandsMarathon.com  or call 345.623.8822.


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