Negril, Jamaica. Up until well into the second half of the last Century, Negril was an exotic destination even for most Jamaican’s. From Montego Bay the drive was challenging enough and from Kingston, it was a day-long journey. Yes it was worth the drive to get to the miles of white sand beach protected by the Coral Reef but what a drive!
Negril has two very distinct personalities. The rocky West End is still chock-a-block with small guest houses and street-side restaurants along with some of the most exclusive and luxurious hotels in the world. West End still has that ‘Hippie’ vibe which isn’t surprising: “Alternative Lifestylers’ found Negril condusive to a free and loose lifestyle and the area has maintained that ever since. The West End is not a sandy beach experience. Because the land rises abruptly, rocky cliffs are the norm. Rick’s Cafe is the spot to catch the best sunsets in the world and the best cliff diving in Jamaica…for those of you brave enough to try it.
Negril’s other personality is the Beach. Ahhh…that Beach! If you are a beach lover like me, Negril is one of the best. Literally miles of soft white sand extending right up to the numerous hotels and out into the warm Caribbean. Clear and warm…I can spend all day alternating between sunning on the beach and lolling around in the Sea. Toss in a Red Stripe and a Meat Patty and that top’s off an amazingly day.
Perfect for a Saturday morning run in the sun!
For us runners, Negril comes alive the first weekend of December every year at Reggae Marathon. All the pre-race activity happens at the Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex. Race kit pickup Thursday and Friday and the Reggae Marathon Pasta Party Friday night all happen here. Carbo loading under stars while listening to Reggae supports the Casual experience.
Then on Saturday morning the action moves to Long Bay Beach Park (only a couple of hundred metres east of Couples Sporting Complex) for all 3 Reggae Marathon events: Full Marthon, 1/2 Marathon and 10K. So that all of us runners have a flawless experience Race Day, the dedicated Reggae Marathon staff and volunteers get no sleep Friday night as they make final preparations for the prompt 5:15 am race start for all 3 race events. And neither do most runners! I’m heading into my 5th Reggae Marathon this December 7 and expect to sleep very little once again. I’m not complaining though…the excitement of getting ready for Race Day is the only thing about Reggae Marathon that isn’t casual.
Reggae Marathon starts and finishes at Long Bay Beach Park. Misting tent, Fresh cut coconut water, Massages on the Beach and a dip in the refreshing Caribbean are the rewards for running in Reggae Marathon.
OK…Must. Stop. Now! It’s just over 3 months to go and I can always feel the sand between my toes. I’ve got my suitcase packed…in my mind anyway…and I’m looking forward to kicking back in the Capital of Casual.
For all the facts and information on Reggae Marathon 2013, December 7 go here: Reggae Marathon 2013.
Until next time…
Click here to register online for Reggae Marathon, December 7, 2013: Reggae Marathon Registration.
For more information check the Reggae Marathon Web Site.
Click here for more details on Reggae Marathon’s Abe Issa Award for Excellence.
This is a link to the Official Reggae Marathon 2012 Race Video.
Photo courtesy of Karen Fuchs.