If you’re looking for a destination race to close off your running calendar, the 2016 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon takes place Sunday, December 4, 2016. I had the opportunity to travel there last December to run the half-marathon and there’s loads of great reasons you should add this one to your goals.
1.The cheer stations are amazingly enthusiastic. They have a competition for which station gets the most votes from runners, but I think these locals would just be smiling and loud with their cheering regardless. Most of the stations have a theme (check out this Star Wars one!) and there are several with great music playing. I found these lively, friendly cheer stations were my saviour during the brutally hot and humid race.
2. Choose between the full 42.2k or the half-marathon. For the full marathon you run the loop twice. While I’m personally not a fan of loops, I suppose on the second loop you know what to expect (and here you’ll get to encounter all of the crowd support twice — see point #1 above). I opted for run the half-marathon because I knew the heat would prohibit me from doing a strong marathon, and I’d had a busy race season and was just plain tired by the end of the year.
3. Stay hydrated at an incredible number of water stations. Water and Gatorade are provided at each mile, which was a huge welcome as the conditions were quite rough last year. As I wasn’t running for a PB, I stopped at each one for a welcome, much needed sip
4. Views of beautiful homes and the sea. While much of it is essentially the view of a country road (in that you’re surrounded on either side by trees and the sound of roosters), you do get to peek at some beautiful Caymanian homes (and dream of living there) and the sun rises during the race so there’s also the beauty of dawn breaking to enjoy, too.
5. Easy race kit pick-up at the Westin Grand Cayman. I was a guest at this hotel so it was simple to pop over to grab my kit in the fastest race kit pick up I’ve ever had (there’s no expo, and it’s a small race so it’s a stress-free affair). The Westin also opens up their cafe early on race morning so you can fuel up beforehand.
6. A great post-race food buffet. Loads of fresh fruit, peanuts, cookies, plaintain chips and beer. I think this is the best refuel I’ve had at a race — the fresh fruit was delightfully refreshing in particular. Besides the actual food at the race finish, there’s a fantastic camaraderie and mood at the finish area so it’s got a party atmosphere.I guess that’s the Cayman Kind way.
7. It’s Grand Cayman. I’ve been lucky enough to travel many places, and the Cayman Islands boasts some of the bluest, clearest water I’ve ever swam in. Race complete, once back on Seven Mile Beach, I ran straight into the ocean in my race gear to cool off. And what better reward than some R&R here after your race; you can swim with stingrays, visit the low-key island of Little Cayman and take in gorgeous vistas by visiting Cayman Brac.
Karen Kwan is a regular iRun fashion and travel contributor, and you’ll find her running fashion posts every Friday on Instagram. She contributes to a number of publications and you can also follow her travel and running adventures at Health & Swellness.