How it began…Reggae Marathon!
It began of course with a run. Back in 1995, a group of runnersin Kingston met up at the Mona Reservoir (The Dam) for weekly runs. The Mona Dam is an almost idlyic location to run. It is located away from the hustle and bustle of Kingston near the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. Cooler breezes in the evening combined with lush vegitation make the laps around the edge of the reservoir fly by. I’ve run The Dam a couple of times myself back in the day and they are some of my most memorable runs ever!
This group of runners came together to form a running club. The name they settled on was The Jamdammers in homage to their running roots at the Mona Dam. A true cross-section of Jamaica was respresented in the Club that is still evident today, 22 years later: Out of Many One People.
Jamaica was and is world famous for running. Sprinting that is…not so much for middle-distance and long distance running. The Jamdammers set out to change that. In 2000 they launched what has become the foundation of their efforts to promote distance running, The Grand Prix Series. Young people, students and runners of all ages finally had organized race venues to stretch their legs at longer distance road race events. If you’ve ever marvelled at the young runners tearing up the 10K at Reggae Marathon, you’re seeing the fruits of the labours of The Jamdammers.
The Grand Prix Series culminates every year with the Reggae Marathon in Negril. From the start in 2000 Reggae Marathon has been a three event race: Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K that fulfills one of the Jamdammers founding principals of promoting middle and long distance road racing One frequently asked question is this: Why Negril? For anyone in the US or Europe dealing with a cold and wintery climate, the answer is self evident: It’s a great beach vacation location! With lots of hotel choices and a nearly flat road course, Negril is also an ideal place to hold a road race. And this December 2 marks the 17th annual running of Reggae Marathon. What began as a dream 22 years ago now attracts runners from all walks of life in Jamaica who join with runners from over 35 countries around the world to celebrate our collective love and joy in running. See you in Negril!
Until next time…
Reggae Marathon RunninGuy (aka Sugar ‘Tuff Gong’ Bong)