11th Reggae Marathon set for Dec 3

11th Reggae Marathon set for Dec 3

BY PAUL BURROWES Observer writer

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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ACCLAIMED as one of the 10 best in the world, the 11th staging of the course-revised Reggae Marathon will get underway on December 3 at Long Bay Beach Park in Negril, Westmoreland.

Having surpassed 1,000 participants for the first time last year, Jamdammers Runners Club is expecting even more this year, with the full backing of the ministries of tourism and youth, sport and culture.

At yesterday's launch at Altamont Court Hotel, chairman Barclay Ewart said he was encouraged by the strides made in the event "that will continue to stand out as the most successful in the region".

Ewart said that after last year's marathon, "Jamaica was hailed as the one of the top 10 places to run a marathon by Bedford, New York writer Mark Wollin in the weekly newspaper column, Glancing Askance.

Ewart also noted that a "glossy publication" by New Holland Publishers would include the Reggae Marathon in a project early next year to highlight the "50 best marathons of the world".

"It is expected that this book will become a definitive text for marathon runners and armchair enthusiasts who have a taste for travel," Ewart emphasised.

"That Jamaica's Reggae Marathon has been considered for inclusion in such a ground-breaking international publication after only 11 years speaks volumes about how far the event has come, the level of organisation and the desirability of the destination."

In addition, Ewart pointed out that a few days ago a Jamaican in India had called race director Alfred Francis about a feature on the event on National Geographic channel.

Francis said the marathon course would be looped and those participating in the full marathon would be competing the half-marathon twice and enjoy a "fast, flat course".

Participants will no longer head in Green Island and to ensure the 26.1-mile challenge, the new course has been certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and USA Track and Field (USTAF).

The new course would also facilitate more music stations per mile and greater use of alternate routes "to ease the inconvenience for the Negril community" explained Francis.

Over the past decade, some 4,000 international participants from some 25 countries have generated over US$11 million to Negril and the Jamaican economy from the event.

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