Marathon participants run past adversity

| 16/11/2017
CNS Local Life

William Foster with his children, Lily and Lucas, post-shave at St Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser

(CNS Local Life): For some people taking part in the 2017 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, set for Sunday, 3 December, crossing the finish line will mean more than getting a medal or posting a great time. Instead, the achievement will represent a goal that a few years or even months ago would have been impossible because of debilitating injuries and health issues.

Caymanian William Foster will be running his first half marathon, three years after suffering a massive stroke. He is determined to get fit again and, in doing so has discovered a passion for running.

“It has been a tremendously difficult road, and one that I am still on. I had a very dense right mid-cerebral attack (ischemic stroke) leaving me completely paralysed on my left side,” said Foster.36, in a press release from the organisers. “I could not use the upper left side of my body for the first few weeks at all, until finally I felt a little movement in the shoulder. Slowly, things started to show signs of life, and today I am using my left side again, but in a diminished way.”

Foster said he was a very keen recreational athlete, and loved football, squash and baseball. He eventually regained the ability to play two of the three sports, but lost his love for football because it wasn’t the same for him as before his stroke. Instead he has developed a love for running and said it is the closest he feels to his former self. He began training with CrossFit 7 Mile’s Scott Ruby through his “Couch 2 5K” programme and then progressed to the half-marathon training.

“I actually think I am a better runner today than I was in the past because I have learned to be more strategic,” said Foster. “As my endurance and abilities have increased, I want to push myself a bit further, and that’s why I chose the Cayman half marathon. I am looking for any excuse to spend more time exercising as it has always been a part of my identity, and I am trying to reclaim as much of it as possible.”

Kelly Watson, like Foster, is no stranger to fighting her way back to health. She is participating in the half marathon after recovering from back surgery. “I originally looked at running as a way to try and lose weight – perhaps not the noblest of reasons to start something like running. However, I certainly have no regrets,” she said.

Watson also joined Couch 2 5K and completed the 2016 half marathon under three hours using the techniques and tricks she learned in her classes. However, 2017 took a bad turn when she discovered she had a collapsed disc, with the disc above the collapsed disc beginning to bulge out as well in her lower back. The subsequent surgery put her on the sidelines from March.

“All that time, all I could think of was getting back to running, and running under the coaching of Coach Scott and my new-found friends and running partners,” Watson said.

Once she was cleared to start running again, her two partners stepped up and supported her by getting up at “crazy morning hours” to walk/run daily 5Ks with her as she worked to build back the strength and endurance she had lost.

“I am forever grateful to my running partners. I still have a long way to go to gain back my strength and ability, but I feel like the 2017 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon is an event I need to do, just so that I know I can (still) do it,” she said. “Even if I must walk a bit more than run, I will finish. 2018, now that will be a completely different story.”

Yvonne Carter from Baltimore, Maryland, is competing in the full marathon, her first time running the Cayman race and her first run after recovering from both a torn hamstring and a torn calf muscle. She is determined to finish her year strong.

“I set out to run three marathons and compete in at least five duathlons this year, but the torn hamstring and a complicated cross-country move prohibited that,” Carter said. “After nursing my hamstring back to running condition, I tore my calf muscle about six weeks out from the Boston Marathon. Needless to say, my time sucked and I completely stopped running for about three months to give my calf time to heal.”

Carter said she saw a man wearing the 2016 Cayman marathon shirt and decided to look up the race. Since it takes place late in the year, the Cayman run will allow her to fulfil one of her goals, and she’s hoping to end 2017 with a faster time than the disappointing race she ran in Boston.

Online registration is still open through the Cayman Islands Marathon website. For more information, call Rae Lopez at 623-8822 or email the organisers


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Category: Running, Sports

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