KINGSTON, Jamaica — Runners from 30 countries around the world will converge in Jamaica in December for the annual Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10-K run.
The event, which has become a fixture on the international sports calendar, is scheduled to take place in Negril, Westmoreland on Saturday, December 1.
Now in its 12th year, the event has been ranked among the top 10 marathons in the world on five different occasions, and has generated in excess of US$11 million in foreign exchange earnings for the island.
Newcomers Poland and Argentina are among the participating countries this year.
There is also an increase in competitors from traditional entrants such as Japan, Brazil and Canada.
Minister with responsibility for Sport, Natalie Neita Headley said that the event has effectively combined two of the country’s greatest offerings — sport and culture — and continues to showcase Jamaica’s prowess in both areas.
“It is (therefore) incumbent on all of us that this brand Jamaica attraction remains with us for a very long time” said Neita Headley.
“I want to make a special appeal that we guard this event well, so that it can continue to bring tangible benefits to our people and our country”.
The largest number of overseas participants in the event’s history is expected this year and organisers say there will also be increased media coverage, with a film crew from ESPN Argentina expected to cover the event.
Race Director, Alfred Francis, says that the increase in numbers was largely due to the marketing and promotional efforts of the Reggae Marathon team and its partners, particularly PUMA and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).
“Our efforts have paid off and to date, we have seen the success in the increase in registration numbers over last year,” Francis said.
“Participation increased by 13 per cent in 2011 and I hope that we do even better this year”.