The Caribbean island of Jamaica, known world wide for its reggae music, jerk chicken, warm clear ocean waters and powdery white sand beaches will again host one of the most unique destination marathons in the world.
"The Reggae Marathon is for runners who want to have a culturally-charged vacation marathon," said Thom Gilligan, president of Marathon Tours and Travel, a company that specializes in travel to destination marathons. "Negril's all-inclusive properties cater to active, sports-minded guests and are the perfect setting for a vacation on the run."
Both the marathon and half-marathon start at 5:15 a.m. in Long Bay Beach Park situated along Negril's famed seven-mile white sand beach. The course loops into the town of Negril then heads north towards the town of Green Island. Certified by the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the marathon and half marathon courses are mostly flat with few turns.
The pre-race and post-race parties feature live reggae bands, encouraging race participants to dance to the reggae beat. The marathon is also known for its first-rate pasta party featuring cuisine presented by top chefs from the major hotels who compete amongst themselves to offer the best pre-race meal.
Three-time Reggae Marathon men's champion and course record holder Pamenos Ballantyne and 2003 women's champion Denise Knickman, are slated to compete in the fifth anniversary staging.
According to Race Director Alfred "Frano" Francis, "this year is special for us and preparations are in high gear as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Reggae Marathon. The willingness of these elite athletes to participate in our event when they could have chosen others, is a testament to the fact that we are now well-established on the international race calendar."