It was a Jamaican sweep when Rupert Green and Karlene Blagrove decisively won the Bob Marley and Rita Marley Championship Trophies from a combined field of 186 male and female marathon entries at the 14th staging of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K in Negril, Jamaica on December 6, 2014.
Green’s win for the fifth time at Reggae Marathon of 2:34:35 was 5 minutes ahead of his nearest rival Arturs Barekis from Illinois, USA and a triumph for Green who had trained rigorously and set his sights on this win. For Blagrove, the winner from a field of 51 female entries at 3:37:51 it was a bitter sweet win, her mother having passed away on the Wednesday before the Saturday 5:15am race. Blagrove finished 12 minutes and 44 seconds ahead of her nearest rival, second place winner Canadian Dana Martin Kelly.
Jamaican wins in the male Half Marathon – Kirk Brown from a field of 258 male competitors, and a complete sweep in the 10K for both male and females in first, second and third positions left Race Director Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis buoyed in meeting one of his stated aims for his focus on road-racing – for Jamaica to produce long-distance runners to one day equal the reputation of being a country of sprinters. The 10K winners were Dwayne Graham (00:32:57) and Shaneike Watson (00:39:50).
It was Melina Frei from Swizerland who broke the Jamaican winning streak in the Half Marathon. Melina who was also an accredited journalist at Reggae Marathon, was happy with her win at 1:31:06 – 3 minutes and 26 seconds ahead of her Jamaican rival, Juliette Dinnal.
The hotly contested School’s championship in the 10K saw the old rivals: St Jago, Bellefield and Holmwood in intense rivalry with coaches on hand to support their teams. Bellefied High were declared the boys champions, and the victory for the girls went to Holmwood.
This year’s Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K which attracted 1763 participants from 36 countries and a host of local and international media, was, according to race director Alfred Francis “an impressive event”. He said the race is “growing in popularity both in Jamaica and overseas and we will continue to boost our marketing effort along with our sponsors PUMA Running and the Jamaica Tourist Board to heighten awareness and provide more exposure for Reggae Marathon to ensure that the numbers continue to increase.”
Francis also had high praise for the many committed sponsors who offer their support annually as well as the volunteers whose invaluable service helps to maintain the high standard of runner care for which the event is also known.
A Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston organized race, Reggae Marathon has become a world renowned award winning event. Its signature JHTA’s World’s Best Pasta Party sponsored by the Negril Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and featuring Negril’s best chefs, is a high point of marathon weekend. The unique torch-lit start with all competitors – marathon (26.2 miles), half-marathon (13.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles) setting off at 5:15am to the sounds of non-stop reggae music both on and off the looped course, and the run on the Negril main road with scenic views of the famed seven mile beach, are also among Reggae Marathon’s unique features. The race ends with a Beach Bash Victory Party, massages on the beach and the opportunity to walk off the course into the sea for a terrific cool-down.
Reggae Marathon will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2015. Registration for the December 5, 2015 race opens on January 1, 2015.