My favourite time of day is just before sunrise. When I worked the all-night shift years ago, the hours between 4 am and 6 am were my favourite. The late-night crowd were winding down while the early risers were just getting started. It was the quietest time of my shift.
Early morning is also my favourite time of day for running. There’s less traffic on the roads and it’s usually quiet. I was especially excited and anxious about the 5:15 am start time of the Reggae Marathon last year. I’ve competed in many 10 K, ½ marathons and triathlons over the years and the start was always a highlight. The butterflies, the crowd buzz, the last pit stop … all building to the starter’s pistol. But nothing prepared me for the stat of the Reggae Marathon.
Getting to the start line last year was a big deal for me. It was filled with a ton of emotion. It was my second attempt at a full marathon (I dropped out of my only other one… I had unfinished business to finish). I was running this one in honour of my Dad who had passed away the year before. I was raising funds for a charity at home.
I got up around 3:30 am for my pre-race routine: bathroom, breakfast and racing gear. The early morning was cool as I walked the kilometre from my hotel to the start area at Long Bay Beach Park. I enjoyed walking and talking to other excited runners. I got to the start line by 4:30 am.
After dropping my bag off at the bag check, I headed out for my pre-race warm-up. I especially enjoyed running the last 200 metres: it helped me visualize my finish. Combined with the loud reggae music and constant stream of announcements from the finish line announcer…she was the best…the time flew by.
At the starter’s gun, I cried with tears of joy that I had made it that far. The rest of the run was a wonderful, stressful, painful (at times) emotional, fantastic experience.
Whatever your reason for running the Reggae Marathon, I can guarantee it will be special. See you in Negril for the 10th anniversary Reggae Marathon December 4.
Until next time…
that running guy
PS: I took the photo just after sunrise last December. It is the beach area at Long Bay Beach Park.