Only 10 individual runners completed the grueling 50-kilometer ‘Off The Beaten Track’ course Sunday 25th February 25th. Phil Reed crossed the finished first in the time if 5:36:00.54.
“A few of legs were quite difficult like four or five, that weren’t marked out particularly well. I ended up running maybe four miles further than we thought. It got a bit warmer the last few hours it was a lot of fun.”
Mourant Ozannes defended it’s title as winner of the team relay finishing in 4:28:54.44. Anchor Patrick Harfield says the team was happy with the result.
“Fresh off the back of Mercuryman a few weeks back, slightly shortly and slightly more off the beaten track obviously today. It was a bit of a different race but a pleasure to get the victory today.”
Race founder Ken Krys says the race a fresh take on distance running in Cayman.
“The idea of getting off the path, getting off the road, seeing a bit of Cayman and the idea of enjoying yourself ….alot of us just do roped runs here so something different is always nice.”
Here is a leg-by-leg recap courtesy of racecaribbean.net:
Leg 1 – The course this year started near Tikki Beach with runners heading down the sandy beach into the darkness for a couple of miles before turning on to more solid footing to West Bay Road, via a dusty trail to Esterley Tibbitts Bypass, turning into the ‘Swamp’ (and it lived up to its name) with mud, bush, walking the plank and spiders webs to contend with before ending up on Ebony Lane off Eastern Avenue. With it being a beach run for most of the way, it was no surprise to me that Dashing Thru the Sand winner Tiffany Cole (345AC – Tower Rangers) was first home, just ahead of Abraham Whitaker (345AC – EFG Bank) who lost his footing and took a little knock as he was in first place at the time and eased home for second. Neal Ainscow (Mourant Ozannes) was seconds behind for third. Meanwhile the solo race was being led by Esmond Brown some 7 minutes ahead of nearest rival Geoff Cornwall, with Enrico Carmassi close behind in third. The three ladies competing this year were all very close together and clearly pacing themselves for the threat to come.
Leg 2 – this route saw runners through Rock Hole, Harbour Drive to South Church Street, some Iron Shore, some bush, a bit of Winsor Park and finishing on South Sound dock – designed to test one’s navigational skills. The experienced Chadwick Webster not only ran the quickest leg 2 of the day, but moved ‘Mourant Ozannes’ into the lead. Tommy Kehoe of ‘345AC – EFG Bank’ ran a solid leg to keep his team in contention, whilst Phill Thompson of ‘WNRC – None Starters’ and Marlon Crowe of ‘FlashyNation Sprint Team’ ran well to stay up front. Molly Kehoe was next for ‘345AC Tower Rangers’ keeping the first place for an all-female team. The fastest female leg 2 runner was Nadine Gray (It Nearly Didn’t Happen). Of the solo runners it was still Esmond Brown who was way in front with Dan Kelly and Phil Reed moving into the next two spots, whilst Natalie Mallinson had started to edge ahead of Kerri Kanuga and Karina McDermot in the ladies race.
Leg 3 – Bored yet? I thought as much! This leg was less challenging to some with others hating the beach section adjacent to Old Prospect Road. Into Prospect and ending up at the end of Windswept Drive. By the half-way stage it would take someone getting lost for ‘Mourant Ozannes’ to lose top spot as Hayden Isbister ran a stormer of a leg to create a huge gap between first and the next best. Will Edwards [a replacement for Juan Pablo Valerio who ended up overnight in hospital after a track race the night before – we wish you a speedy recover Pabbers] who had not had any time to study the map and certainly had not checked the route struggled with his directions and although he lost a few minutes, he did keep his team ‘345AC – EFG Bank’ in second spot. Stuart Bray also ran a quick leg moving his team ‘FN Sprint’ into third spot, whilst in the solo run, Phil and Dan had closed the gap on Esmond who was now probably wishing he had started a bit slower. Natalie had put 20 minutes between her and her two rivals. The fastest ladies leg of the day was Olivia [what! The course designer?], although in fairness she had just ran leg 1, hot-footed to leg 3 to run again.
Leg 4 – this got interesting as we were forced to make the last minute change. The relay runners might have brushed it off but I really felt for the solo runners who ended up adding probably another 4 miles on what was already a long day in the office. However, we adapt and overcome adversity, a little change of route would not spoil the day so onwards and upwards we go. So instead of cutting across the trail that would eventually lead to Hirst Road, we took the more scenic route, via Poindexter Road and the East-West Arterial. Matt Volkwyn kept going for ‘Mourants’ and increased the lead, whilst this change in leg 4 completely changed the order of the other teams who go lost and were all over the place. Darshan “Mo” Lal is recorded as having been credited with the time of 23:51 which we can all say is clearly impossible but putting that time aside [note Esmond Brown’s time was were he had to withdraw and was not the complete leg] Warren Keens was the best able to adapt it seems moving his team ‘InterTrust’ into the second spot. The ‘345AC – Brown Rudnick’ runner Charles Sokohl moved his team into the top three. Jennifer Coleman was also a quick leg runner for ‘Watch Our Heels’.
In the solo run, with Esmond withdrawing it was Phil and Dan running together with the latter [a visitor from the USA] using Google maps to help navigate the way. Whilst Natalie was well ahead in the ladies race.
Leg 5 – back on route cutting through to Shamrock Road, turn on Poindexter back through Prospect and eventually finishing at the far end of Grand Harbour. With ‘Mourants’ having such a lead Marius Acker was more than happy to run an easy leg knowing he could not be caught. Toby Bowles of WNRC None Starters was fastest with Matt Volkwyn running a second leg also next quickest but this time for ‘FN Sprint’. Ava Hider was quickest female ensuring that the ‘345AC Tower Rangers’ stayed ahead of the all-female teams.
Ultra-distance runners often run in pairs as having company makes competing grueling miles more bearable. Dan and Phil had ran together for most of the route [probably because only one of them had Google maps] and stayed together had planned to run the finish-line together. Natalie on the other hand had teamed up with anyone who just happened to be passing as she knew she was leading the ladies race and by now probably couldn’t wait to see the finishline.
Leg 6 – the last bit was a very difficult leg, considering it was in the heat of day and had more off-road sections than any other leg. Cutting all the way from Linford Pierson By-pass through to South Sound must have been one of the toughest sections of the entire course and that was only the first part. It continued through another three sections of bush before eventually finishing at Smith Cover. Brad Scott (38:45) of ‘Ogier Global Originals’, which seems particularly fast when compared to Patrick Harfield (42:31) who is quite possibly the fastest 10k runner in Cayman at the moment. We will give you the benefit of the doubt Brad as it does not affect the overall results, but…. I think you might have missed a portion of this leg is my gut feeling.
However, there are no prizes for quick legs so at the finishline we are more concerned about who made the grade. Of course ‘Mourant Ozannes’ team (Neal Ainscow, Chadwick Webster, Hayden Isbister, Matt Volkwyn, Marius Acker and Patrick Harfield) was easily the best team of the day and were totally unchallenged by the end of leg 2