Competing on the recently re-configured and IAAF re-certified course, Green lifted the Bob Marley trophy from Colin Graham (3:8.24), and Herv Bacon of France (3:12.7), with female winner Jenifer Goebel of Chicago clocking 3:07.59, to take the Rita Marley trophy ahead of Karlene Blagrove (3:36.51) and Soile Peltoniemi-Ni of Finland in 3:51.41.
Commenting on the 10K, race director Alfred Francis noted that it was the first time this distance was being certified which means that “all times run on the 10K course are official and factor into a participant’s overall international performance. The Reggae Marathon course is an IAAF qualifying course and whether you are competing in the Olympics or the World Championships, records set at Reggae Marathon stand,” Francis said.
With some 1,300 participants representing 28 countries, the event got off to its usual 5:15 a.m. start amidst the call of the drums and blazing torches. Regulars such as the USA’s veteran marathon runner and Reggae Marathon aficionado 86 year old Burt Carlson who has participated in over 300 international events as well as 84 year old Jamaican stalwart Roy Thomas who has competed in every Reggae Marathon and Road to Reggae Marathon Grand Prix series since inception in 2001; and Jamaican Errol Grant, did not disappoint.
Repeat groups including the Running Girlz of Canada as well as first timers Easy Skankin from the USA confirmed that the Reggae Marathon is deserving of being included among the world’s best. Horst Preisler of Germany completed his first Marathon in Jamaica and his 1250 Marathon event overall. Local celebrities could also be seen on the course with popular evening jock ‘Miss Kitty’ of Radio Jamaica participating in the 10K along with disc jockey DJ Sparks.
Another highlight of the event was the participation of Navin Sadarangani from Montego Bay who managed to shave seven minutes off his previous Reggae Marathon time for a personal best of 3:50.43. On completion of the marathon, Sadarangani immediately caught the next flight to Florida where he completed the West Palm Beach Marathon on Sunday, December 4. Following the race he remarked, “Florida was good, but Reggae was the best. Ain’t nothing comes close to the Reggae experience.”
This sentiment was echoed by a number of other guests who had high praise for special features such as the pre-race JHTA World’s Best Pasta Party, the unique start, the heart pounding Reggae music along the course, the overall organization and runner’s care, the non-stop entertainment as well as the cool coconut water, fresh from the tree at the finish line.