|Jamaicans Dominate Reggae Marathon 12|
Defending Reggae Marathon champion, Jamaica's Rupert Green, took home the Bob Marley trophy for the men's marathon for the fourth consecutive year at the 12th staging of the event in Negril on Saturday, December 1 in a run that lasted 2:35:06. Spain’s Mahamud Isidro Pilar took the Rita Marley trophy for women with a winning time of 3:09:13.
The Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K which attracted over 1400 participants also saw Jamaican Gregory McKenzie emerging as the fastest man in the Half Marathon completing the race in 1:11:00, while American Maria Morales took the women's Half Marathon title in 1:22:09. Steeplechaser Mandrea Hyman, who has represented Jamaica repeatedly in the Olympics and World Championships, made her Reggae Half Marathon debut, finishing second to Morales in 1:25:18.
In the Reggae Marathon 10K which marked the finale of the Burger King Grand Prix Series of road races,
Jamaicans Shawn Pitter (29:56) and Tanice Barnett (37:24) took the titles with Bank of Jamaica winning the open team 10K edging out Advanced Integrated Systems and the Financial Services Commission.
The hotly contested high school competition saw St. Jago High taking top honours among the high school girls' teams, trouncing Holmwood Technical and Edwin Allen. In boys' action, Bellefield topped Holmwood and St Jago. High school teams will face off again on December 15 when they vie for spots on the national team to compete in the North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships which Jamaica will host on January 26.
According to Reggae Marathon race director Alfred “Frano” Francis, "This was our biggest and best year yet. The participation shows that Reggae Marathon is growing from strength to strength and we must say a big thank you to the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the Negril community, Jamdammers and all our sponsors and volunteers who continue to help us to put on a world-class event."
Francis notes that in addition to bringing runners from all over the world to experience Jamaica's beauty and culture, Reggae Marathon and the Grand Prix series are promoting a healthy lifestyle while building Jamaica's strength in middle and long distance running. "The world already knows what Jamaica can do in sprinting, but Reggae Marathon shows the world that we are expanding our reach and becoming a true running powerhouse."
Hosted by the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston, Reggae Marathon has become an international favourite; with participants coming from home and abroad to experience the world-renowned Pasta Party featuring Negril's best chefs and non-stop reggae music, the signature on-course entertainment provided by local sound systems.
This year's event drew athletes from 36 countries and more than two dozen local and international media houses.