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Jamaica Reggae Marathon in Negril 2011

The best part is the end with onlookers lining the path cheering, flags waving in the breeze and the Finish Banner prominent above the black chip-recording mats beckoning competitors to make that last effort. Everyone smiling and congratulating the participants and being garlanded with that wonderful Reggae Marathon medal. This is the Finishers’ Beach Party, celebrating the successful finish of another Negril Reggae Marathon, be it a 10K, half marathon or full marathon.

It seems a long time now that I left my bed after a few hours of trying in vain to get to sleep. Too much adrenalin, too much excitement, too much worry that I would not hear the alarm. When I walked out of Breezes Hotel, a shuttle bus full of overseas competitors was just leaving Hedonism II, located next door, and the driver, who spotted me, waited for me to get a ride to the holding area. On board, I met some of friendly Canadians, part of a team called the Running Girls, dressed in matching tops. They had signed up for the half marathon.

At the Start Area, people were stretching and warming up. It had rained a lot during the night and the ground was wet with the occasional puddle here and there. I made a mental note to look out for slippery road surfaces.

When African drumming replaced the reggae music on the PA system, I knew it was nearly 5:15 AM, starting time, and everyone began moving closer in the corral. The MC shouted “People are you ready?” and the responding roar of the crowd was all he needed. I felt privileged to  part of this diverse group of competitors, people of every age, race, ethnicity, and size. Then we were off!

Over 1300 persons competed and the majority, 568 persons comprising 246 men and 322 women, did the 10K, with an average time 1:15:57. For the half marathon, 489 finished with 262 women again outnumbering the 227 men who competed. Their average time was 2:31:43. And for the marathon, there were 82 men and 43 women competing with an average time of 4:40:58. Along the route, there was music and many helpers offering water, energy drinks, and much encouragement. The runners thinned out after a couple of miles and it became more difficult to pace oneself and power on.

The 10K finishers are the first to enjoy the party with music and all the goodies provided after crossing the finish line: misting, ice cold compresses, coconut water, energy drinks, fruits, beer, cereal bars, complimentary massages and more. All with a backdrop of the Negril Beach and the inviting Caribbean Sea.

As I get ready to return to Silver Sands, I am already planning for next year’s Reggae Marathon which will be held in Negril on the first Saturday in December 2012.

reggae marathon logo

Jamaica Villas Happenings