“Embrace the Sunrise at Reggae Marathon”!
Every first timer to Reggae Marathon has two questions: “Whats it like to run in the dark?” and “What’s the post-Reggae Marathon experience like?”
Reggae Marathon starts promptly at 5:15 am and runners gather around the start area by 4:30 am. This means waking up super early. In the 5 years that I’ve been coming to Reggae Marathon I’ve never met a fellow runner who’s complained about having to get up early, eat, complete pre-race rituals and get to the start well before dawn. There’s something about being near the Negril beach in December with warm temperatures and fragrant tropical scents. That and the throngs of fellow runners heading to the Start/Finish area at Long Bay Beach Park.
On Saturday, Reggae Marathon Race Day all the activity happens at Long Bay Beach Park, just a little way down the road from the Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex where the Pasta Party is held Friday night. Shuttle buses are the only way to get to the start if you’re staying more than a mile or so from the start. If you’re staying at one of the many hotels closer than that, part of the pre-race excitement is to join other runners walking to the start. Carry your post-race gear with you..right near the start area is the Bag Check. It’s well organized before and after the race.
At the mass start of Reggae Marathon Torch lights burn brightly and the drums beat loudly as Reggae Marathon Race Director sends us off on time at 5:15 am. Let me repeat that: every Reggae Marathon has started on-time! It may be laid-back on the beach; not so for Reggae Marathon. Every year I’ve seen runners racing to the start line so they can cross the the timing mats at the start!
One bit of advice at the start: since there are no corals, be honest with yourself: if you’r not an elite runner, stay back in the field. There’s nothing worse than holding up someone faster. And since we’re an intimate race you won’t be very far back in any case. Plus you’ll get a Chip time for your race.
Dawn breaks over Negril around 6 am but doesn’t get above the tree line until closer to 7 am. Unless you’re an elite 10K runner, you’ll finish in bright sunlight. Remember to smile for the cameras as you run down the chute to the Finish Line. Keep moving past that point and if necessary stop in the cool misting tent before heading for your fresh cut coconut, Cold Red Stripe and a refreshing dip in the Caribbean…running gear and all!
If ever there was the perfect way to celebrate a sunrise in Jamaica, the Reggae Marathon post-race festival is the way to do it. The post-race activity begins early with music, dancing and awards presentations…it’s non-stop for most of the morning.
I’m looking forward to my 6th consecutive Reggae Marathon this December 6…I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the sunrise!
Until next time…
Reggae Marathon RunninGuy (aka Sugar ‘Tuff Gong’ Bong)
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 Andrew Bellamy, SLEEKjamaica.