Meet Paul Josephson, who lives in Maine, USA and Paris, France. He’s an author and teacher, writes for New England Runner i, and will always run the Reggae Marathon, this December 3 his 9th Reggae Marathon in a Row!
I love Reggae. 2016 will be my 9th straight marathon in Negril. I wouldn’t think of missing it. There are five reasons. First, of course, sand, and ocean are the perfect taper for a marathon. Second, I found my second home at the Negril Treehouse, with Gail, the owner, a fellow Pittsburgh native, and her staff, all of whom offer such hospitality and love for all runners that I feel perfectly at home. (It’s booked, but don’t worry; there are dozens of other fine places.) Third, of course there’s the food up and down Negril beach, and I have my favorites. Fourth, Reggae Marathon itself. It’s well organized, familiar, friendly, warm, great vibes, and, it’s true, the pasta dinner is the best in the world.
Most important are friends I’ve made in Negril who come every year, too, and we stay together for hugs and breakfast, sun and swimming, and a few miles Saturday morning beginning with the start at 5:15 am: Kari, a destination marathoner from NYC; Burt, from Minnesota, 90 years old, finisher of 321 full and ultramarathons, now doing the half; Stacey (North Carolina), always fit and places in her age group; Floridian, Giovanna, who races almost every weekend, and knocks off half marathons as if they were glasses of Chardonnay.
The course is simple and flat: two 13 mile loops. The start is a bit congested with 10k runners and walkers, half marathoners, and marathoners, and it’s dark. But by 10k you’re on your own – and I love the feeling of solitude. (For solitude and natural beauty during the run, look inland at the Great Morass.)
Of my 114 marathons, I’ve run my slowest at Reggae. It’s hot, it’s hard and I’m old. I have excuses – being out of shape, injured, running on the eve of major surgery. But I need my Reggae, the super support along the route, the young people screaming at you, the music, the finish with a beer and a short walk to fall face first into the ocean.
This year I pledge to be in shape and uninjured. Well, no matter, I’ll finish my 9th straight Reggae Marathon.
Until next time…
Reggae Marathon RunninGuy (aka Sugar ‘Tuff Gong’ Bong)