I knew it would be a long and challenging experience at the Reggae Marathon. I run and train all year in temperatures significantly colder than the mid-70’s at the start at 5:15 am. And unlike the Team Lipstick gang from New York who arrive early for the Reggae Marathon and set up their training base in Negril at the Rock House in the West End, I really won’t have time to fully acclimatize again this year.
At last year’s Reggae Marathon I planned to go out slowly and just run my race. I had a target time, had a race plan but I really just needed to finish. I didn’t plan to look at my watch at all during the race and mostly succeeded. Then I saw the timing sign at the 13.1 mile mark and experienced huge mixed emotions. It indicated that I was running much slower than I had ever run and that I was not going to be anywhere near my pre-race time. It weighed on my mind that my wife Sally was waiting at the finish and would be worried out of her mind when I didn’t come in close to the time I had promised her.
On the positive side, I felt good through the half. The sun was still low on the horizon, the crowds along the Reggae Marathon route had been really supportive and I had a couple of short and encouraging conversations with other runners I encountered along the way. Even though we were all running alone, we ran together in mind and spirit.
But it was the young Reggae Marathon volunteer who was at the timing sign at mile 13.1 who provided the most support. He didn’t yell encouragement and he barely smiled…hours sitting alone 13 + miles from the finish at Long Bay Beach Park will do that to you…but he gave me a subtle ‘thumbs up’ along with his half smile. That did it.
Until next time
that running guy