By Lindsey Turnbull
It might be in a slightly different format to usual, but the extremely popular Cayman Islands Cancer Society Stride Against Cancer walk/run is back, on Sunday 31st January, and it’s more necessary than ever, according to the organisers.
The CICS’s Operations Manager Jennifer Weber said that before Covid there was always a problem with cancer patients not having sufficient income and insurance to pay for cancer treatments, but that they were the “good old days”.
“Since Covid we have seen an increase in the numbers of cancer patients coming to us with no insurance and no work at all. They are coming in very high numbers,” she stated.
As a result, their annual Stride Against Cancer fundraising event has become even more important for the charity to help those in sometimes desperate need.
The event itself is the oldest fun run/walk in the Cayman Islands, the first Stride taking place in 2005. In 2020 the CICS celebrated its 25th year of operation, but, due to Covid, it was only able to hold one fundraiser event that year, its 2020 Stride.
Traditionally runners undertaking the ‘long’ course of a half marathon would start the event first at 6am, but as the timings for this part of the race were always overseen by Derek Lerner who sadly passed away from cancer himself in 2020, runners will be asked to time themselves if they wish. Instead, in keeping with Covid restrictions limiting the numbers in groups, all participants (whether doing the long course or the shorter quarter marathon) can choose from a staggered start time of which there are four: 6am, 6.30am, 7am and 7.30am. Each will be given a coloured wristband to indicate their start time and each group will be limited to 500. It will begin at Public Beach and the turnaround point for the short course will be the Wharf restaurant.
Jennifer said the race will be dedicated to Derek and the 18 others who passed away from cancer in 2020 in Cayman, and there will be a moment of reflection at the start of each group, so that participants can remember loved ones who had passed away from cancer.
A rowdy round of cheering will greet participants as they cross the line at the end, in support of all of those currently battling and beating cancer. People will be asked to grab a snack and go at the end, to avoid crowding and the raffle will take place leading up to the event.