I hate finish lines. 10 kilometres, ½ half marathons or full marathons. It doesn’t matter the distance or the event or how many races I’ve run. I still have a love/hate experience with the finish line.
Last year was my first Reggae Marathon. It was also the first marathon I successfully completed. The last 200 yards were particularly bittersweet after all the training, injuries and set backs I had worked through to get to the start line in Negril.
I loved the anticipation and build up to the Reggae Marathon. It was my first time back to Jamaica in way too many years. And by considering it a vacation, I convinced Sally to come along. I needed someone to take pictures and I knew she would fall in love with Negril.
Packing was total overkill. I had two pairs of running shoes plus multiple tops and running tights. I packed sunscreen, sunglasses and gels of course. And because I just didn’t believe that both water and Gatorade would be available at every mile of the Reggae Marathon, I had a Camelback and a water belt. You do NOT need to carry extra water. I’ll say it again, the Reggae Marathon has the best hydration delivery system of any running event I have ever been in.
We came in a few days early and I ran the loop from the start/finish line to the round-a-bout in Negril a couple of times. On the beach we met Bob Moore and his wife. Bob was from the Washington Running Report who we hung out with them on the beach, talked about nothing but running and the upcoming Reggae Marathon. It drove our wives crazy.
Any thought of sleep on Friday night after the Pasta Party went out the window for me. I was like a little kid on Christmas Eve. My present was the Reggae Marathon starters pistol at 5:15 am and the torch run away from Long Bay Beach Park.
And then all too soon I passed the Bob’s Mile marker at mile 25. All the months of training melted away as I ran toward the reggae music at the finish line. Because I ran slower than I had planned, Sally was of her mind waiting at the finish line. How was I going to find her?
I needn’t have worried. As I approached the finish chute there she was with the camera shooting like crazy. I was so overcome with emotion that I even forgot to get my medal…Sally grabbed it for me. The next few minutes were a blur. Cooling tent, coconut water, Red Stripe, dive into the sea. It was glad it was over. I could hardly wait until next year.
And now here we are, ‘next year’ with another start and finish less than two weeks away. I love running! See you next week in Negril
Until next time…
that running guy
(NOTE: the picture above was taken by Errol Anderson, Reggae Marathon, 2009)