This morning I had the privilege to run in the annual Cayman Islands Marathon … in fact I ran the 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles/21.1 km) ; my first one ever.

Although I cannot compare, I have to say that this event was really well organized!  The Cayman Islands marathon has been running (pun intended) since 2002.  This year, over 1000 runners (all categories – full marathon, half marathon and 4-team relay) took part ; a record for the event.

The course starts right downtown George Town at the Waterfront (top left of picture below). Then takes the runners south, along South Church Street though South Sound all the way to Prospect.  At Prospect we turn around at the half way mark and do +-7km along the same route before heading north on Walkers Road, into town and to the finish line.

Another view per the upload from my GPS running watch after the run.

To help us beat the Cayman heat, the race started at 5am!  That may seem early, but its a brilliant idea.  Quick 1/2 marathoners can finish the race right around sunrise while the full marathoners only have to cope with <2h of sun out of their race if they are fast enough.

For time tracking, all runners are issued a “chip” as seen below. (407 was by bib number)

It is about the size of a bottle cap and you integrate it to you shoe laces so not to lose it.   When passing though the start and finish lines, there are sensors that detect the chip and the total running time.  Quite nifty and reduces the likelihood of an error if someone were to manually take the time when runners arrive at the finish line.

Here is the finish line.  Lots of people cheering on the runners ; it was great.  Along the route, at the water stations, the volunteers also did a great job cheering us on and always had plenty of water and Gatorade on hand.

Here is my good friend (and office mate) Beth.  She won the women’s full marathon for the 4th time (not a typo) in a row.   A true force of nature. The following woman came in over 15 minutes later, which makes her win even more impressive.

So how did I do?  Well, here is the medal all the finishers get ; very nice.

I finished the half marathon in 1h41:44 – I am very pleased.  That places me 27th in a field of 520 half marathon runners.  Not bad for a guy who only started to run 5 months ago!

In conclusion, to all my runner friends and anyone out there reading this who would like to run with us, I highly recommend you consider coming to Grand Cayman in 2012 for the marathon which is always held the first Sunday of December.  The run in the dark is fun and definitely different, the atmosphere is friendly and the whole organization makes this a very pleasant event.  Not to mention early December is a great time to escape the cold if you are from the USA or Canada 🙂