Thirty-seven countries will participate in this year’s Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K event on Saturday, December 2 in Negril.
The countries include: Japan, USA, Russia, Poland, UK, Germany, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.
Among the special participants expected are athletes from Tottori Japan: Daisuke Ikemoto, Male Athlete of the Japan Self-Defence Force and winner in the 2016 Tottori Marathon, with a time of 2 hours 28 minutes 01 seconds and housewife Shiho Shiomi, Female Athlete, fourth place winner in the 2016 Tottori Marathon, with a time of time 3 hours 11 minutes 24 seconds
Last year’s representative from Tottori, Kota Taniguchi, won the Male Marathon event in Negril in a time of 2:38:49
Another large contingent returning for this year’s staging is the Reggae Runnerz of the USA, which will be represented by a 400-strong group. Each year this group supports various visitor attractions in Negril and local accommodation. They also make a cash donation to the Green Island School and donate scores of running shoes to the school, as well as provide financial support to athletes from the school to attend the Penn Relays in the USA.
“One of the exciting elements of this year’s event is the fact that the race has been selected by the Ministry of Health as the culmination race in the Ministry-led successful national Jamaica Moves Corporate Challenge,” said Race Director, Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis.
This year too, will see the presentation of the Chairman’s Trophy in honour of the late Barclay Ewart to the winning hotel team in the 10K category. In addition, the Jamdammers Running Club will be offering double the prize money to any Jamaican who can break the event’s race record in all race events of the marathon, half marathon and 10K. The records stand unbroken since inception.
According to Mr. Francis, 2016 was an outstanding year for the annual event, which is staged by Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston.
He said the race/walk event was named among the Best Half Marathons across the world in 2016 by the 100 Half Marathons Club of the USA. Additionally, Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K got the vote of 24, 000 readers of the UK-based Women’s Running and Men’s Running magazines, who decided that the Reggae Marathon was the Men’s Running International Race of the Year, while the Women’s Running magazine voted it ‘Highly Commended’ under the Women’s Running International Race of the Year category.
In addition, the Reggae Marathon blog was selected by the prestigious blog.feedspot as among the Top 50 marathon blogs on the worldwide web. Thousands of top marathon blogs on the blog.feedspot index were judged using search and social metrics.
‘It will be all run and fun in Negril this year,” said Diane Ellis, Sponsorship Director of Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K.
The event kicks off on Friday, December 1 with the JHTA Pasta Party, set for the Couples Swept Away Sports Complex beginning 5:30 p.m. with all you can eat pasta and the sounds of the lively and entertaining Silver Birds Steel Band.
On Saturday morning, December 2, at 7:00 a.m. the Beach Bash at Long Bay Beach Park will begin featuring the Raging Fyah Band and upcoming reggae sensation Dre Island. .
“That is the time when the participants exchange contact information and create a network of like-minded persons locally and abroad. And the runners take photographs to send to friends in their country, as a means of promoting Negril and Jamaica,” Diane said.
After running a looped course along the Negril shoreline beginning and ending at the Long Bay Beach Park in Negril, the participants head to the ocean for a splash and cool down, until noon.
“We are looking forward to one of the best events since it began 17 years ago and wish to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, stakeholders, as well as the local and international athletes who continue to give us outstanding support,” said ‘Frano’.