Cayman’s fun runs gather pace

The Cayman Islands has seen a huge surge of road runs in the past decade, with an event virtually every weekend. Distances from The Valentine’s Mile to the wonderful Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon to the daunting 50k ultra-marathon distance of Off The Beaten Track are permanent fixtures in the Cayman sporting calendar now.

There are always incredible numbers competing with the biggest counting their participants in the thousands. Quite an achievement for a country with such a modest population.

Competitive racers, fitness enthusiasts and even runners with strollers and dogs enjoy the huge range of runs, usually organised to raise funds for worthy causes. Cayman really has gone fun run crazy.

After the long summer break, all levels of athletes – and canine ones too - get their chance to rebuild their fitness from this Saturday, Sept. 7 in the first of an annual series of three Fidelity Fun Run 2-mile events. The second is on Sept. 14 and the final one the following Saturday.

Each starts at 7:30am on Walkers Road, opposite John Gray High School and for a modest fee of $25, participants can enter all three. Otherwise it’s $10 for adults over 15 entering. Free for under-15s.

Points for trophies will be awarded each week to the first 10 male and 10 female finishers overall and in each age group and Pet and Pram.

Many in the Fidelity Fun Run series will enter the celebrated Deputy Governor’s 5K Challenge in Cayman Brac on Sept. 15 and on Grand Cayman on Sept. 29. This is its sixth annual staging and three deserving causes will benefit; Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the Special Needs Foundation Cayman and the Alex Panton Foundation.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson personally leads the DG’s 5K Challenge. He said supporting this year’s charitable organisations will make a real impact on many of the most vulnerable people. “2019’s charities do sterling work tackling the stigma of mental illness, supporting the challenges of living with special needs and assisting those in crisis,” Mr. Manderson said. “Looking after all aspects of our health – mental and physical – is really important to me. So I encourage you all to support the 2019 DG’s 5K, lace up your trainers and get moving!”

This year’s fundraising target is $70,000. Platinum sponsor Appleby has already pledged a $15,000 donation. The DG’s 5K Challenge is committed to promoting a more sustainable Cayman Islands.

Water will be provided but with sustainability in mind, participants are asked to bring their own water bottle.

The DG’s 5K Challenge brings together civil servants, private sector employees and members of the public in a fitness and fundraising challenge. The whole gamut of runners and athletes unite in a wonderful community walk/run event.

It is part of Mr. Manderson’s vision to have a healthier, more active and more socially engaged civil service, while benefitting charitable organisations and initiatives in the Cayman Islands.

Last year, the event raised $89,000, split amongst five charitable causes. In 2017, $85,000 was raised to build a ropes challenge course for the YMCA of the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Heart Fund, Special Olympics Cayman Islands and Cayman HospiceCare (now known as Jasmine) have all previously benefited from DG 5K Challenge proceeds.

Money is raised through corporate sponsorship pledges and the registration fees of participants. Due to seasonal accommodation closures, this year’s event will, unfortunately, not take place on Little Cayman. However, pending logistics, plans are to reinstate the event on all three Cayman Islands for 2020.

Prospective participants can register on the CaymanActive website.