As of Friday, November 27 the USA was leading in the number of entries to this year’s Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, set for Saturday, December 5 in Negril. At second place is Jamaica, while Canada is third.
As in 2014, over 35 countries are expected to send representatives to the event, with Saudia Arabia and Hungary entering for the first time in this the 15th anniversary year.
The largest contingent out of the US is the Reggae Runnerz Group with over 400 runners and 100 cheerleaders. While in Jamaica to participate in Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, members of the group will also be conducting development seminars at the Hanover Educational Institute, as well as donating shoes to the football team and gears for the netball team at the Negril All Age School and presenting funds raised by a crowd-funding initiative to the Green Island School.
“We expect an outstanding event this weekend with the support of our various partners, sponsors, volunteers, members of the Negril community, the police and medical team,” said Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis, Race Director.
The race, which begins at 5:15 a.m. on Saturday, December 5, will again be using the My Laps Bib Tag timing system, which is a disposable timing chip attached to the Runner’s Bib. The chip relays timing information once the runner or walker goes over the Timing Mats, which are located at strategic points along the route. ‘Frano’ noted that the system is made possible in association with Sports Management Association Results from the USA, which has been providing timing services for the event since inception, as well a local road race organizers Running Events Limited, with support from Grace Kennedy Limited.
According to the Race Director, the course for all three race events is internationally certified by the IAAF, AIMS and the JAAA.
The prize purse remains at J$1 million and there will be a special cash prize offered by organizers, Jamdammers Running Club for local runners who break any of the Reggae Marathon Course records, which are:
- Male record holder- Pamenos Ballentyne, St. Vincent, 2001 – 2:21:05
- Female record holder – Ramilia Burangulova, Russia, 2001 – 2:42:25
- Male record holder – Moses Macharia, Kenya, 2001 – 1:08:32
- Female record holder – Jackline Toror, Kenya, 2001 – 1:16:12
- Male record holder: Shawn Pitter, Jamaica, 2012 – 29:55
- Female record holder: Carrie Tollefson, USA, 2011 – 36:17
To-date, one record is held by a Jamaican, Shawn Pitter for the 10K event.
“We continue to urge our participants to donate to our charity partner, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, and as is customary, we salute their effort to promote a healthy lifestyle as a deterrent to heart disease, one of the main causes of death in Jamaica, “ ‘Frano’ said. The Heart Foundation will be on location to provide health checks before and during the races.
All major winners will be presented with their awards as soon as they have completed their individual or team events. After Saturday’s race, the party will continue with the ‘Finish Line Beach Bash’ at Long Bay Beach Park.
The event is again supported by over 50 local and international sponsors, with main sponsors being JTB, PUMA and the Negril chapter of the JHTA.