Once again this year I took part in what is quickly becoming a tradition, in the annual Cayman Islands Marathon.   I do not run the full Marathon (26.2 miles) ; I run the 1/2 Marathon (13.1 miles) which I am sure you will agree is more than enough.

As always, the race is on a Sunday morning and it starts at 5am!  So I got up at +-3am, went to my office for 3:45am (its close to the start line) and “took it easy” till around 4:30 and then walk to the start line to get there 15 minutes or so before the start.  The running in the dark is really enjoyable.  Of course much less hot than in full sun and adds a bit of mystique to the whole event.

So, here we are at the start line ; Julie’s friend Valerie also ran it. It was her first 1/2 Marathon.  Julie was supposed to run, but a nasty cold got the best of her and it was probably better not to run that kind of a distance when sick.

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Note that i have 2 bibs on my shirt.  Here is the story.  The top one (green lettering) is for the 1/2 Marathon.  The lower one (red letters) is for a 4-man team relay.   On Thursday a friend of mine called me and told me that they needed a runner due to a cancellation. (needs to be a team of 4 and they were 1-down)  The organizers allow runners to run the 1st leg of the relay + their own race; so essentially you are not running any more than you would be already. The only difference is at the halfway point of the 1/2 Marathon I had to hand over the “chip” to the next relay man, he starts running and I also continue on my way to finish my 1/2 Marathon.  Was that clear? 🙂

Anyway, so we are off into the darkness!  I am somewhere in this mess. The first 200-300 meters are a bit chaotic but very quickly people find their pace and it thins out.

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Here is one of the water stops. All of them are staffed with volunteers and many of them are corporate groups.  My favorite though is the water stop of the Indian community.  They have traditional music and clothes and all kinds of cheering going on.  Very fun to run by their stop and get a drink.

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After the run, runners have access to a well deserved food area; lots of fruit, granola bars, water, Gatorade, etc.

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What I assume is somewhat of unique to the Cayman Marathon … Caybrew is there to serve up some of their great tasting beers for finishers.  Many of us are done before 7am so its an interesting concept.  That beer the gentleman is pouring is mine.   I just burned a ton of calories before most people got out of bed on this Sunday morning, so why not right?

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Here is the finishers medal! I also got one for the team relay.  This medal is really heavy and of nice quality.

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So, how did I do?  I am pleased to report that “quite well” would be an appropriate answer.  Out of 726 runners, I came in 35th overall at a time of 1h41 minutes.  A bit better than in 2012 and almost identical time (few seconds difference from 2011).

On the relay part, this is where I am getting a bit of a kick.   The team I ran for (and was a replacement runner as explained earlier) was a team of guys from Kenya – if you know anything about running in that part of the world is that the runners are really fast.  Well, I “beat” my 3-teammates (I got the best time of all 4 of us) and our team finished 10th out of 108 teams. Not bad at all.  A very successful day I would say.

Julie’s friend Valerie also did well.  She placed 128th overall and 34th women (out of 418) which is excellent, especially for her first 1/2 marathon.

Here is the course! The whole bottom part is essentially two directions.  You go along the coast all the way to the right, then back toward town and then up Walkers Road (the path not on the ocean) and then to the Start/Finish.

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What does one do after such a run: Hit the beach of course.  We all went to Cemetery beach for some much deserved sun bathing, snorkeling and relaxing.   The day was lovely.  Just 2-3 days ago, there was good chance that we would be running in the rain. I was not thrilled by that idea.  Anyway, the awesome Cayman weather came though and so did the afternoon at the beach.

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