North America, Central America, Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) has selected Jamaica as hosts for the 2013 Cross Country Championships, it was announced yesterday.
The event will be staged in Jamaica for the first time on January 25, Minister with responsibility for sport Natalie Neita-Headley revealed during the launch of 2012 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k at the Altamont Court Hotel in Kingston.
The Championships will include some 31 countries that include USA, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.
Meanwhile Neita-Headley urged organisers and participants of the 12th staging of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k to make it a special event.
She asked that the Reggae Marathon event be regarded well as the hope is that by 2030 Jamaica should be enjoying a more healthy lifestyle.
She also highlighted the numerous sporting achievements accomplished by Jamaica in its 50th year of Independence, and indicated that sporting success event went beyond Jamaica's shores to the wider Caribbean.
Neita Headley called on Jamaicans to ensure that Reggae Marathon 2012 becomes another milestone event that is held without incident and join other sporting achievements that will project Jamaica as a world-leading tourist destination and an athletics fun spot.
The event will be staged in Negril on December 1, and starts promptly at 5:15 am at Long Bay Beach Park that is situated along Negril's famed seven-mile white sand beach. A maximum of 3,000 participants will be allowed to take part in the event.
Burger King will sponsor the Reggae Marathon to the tune of $2.8 million and prize money will be in excess of $1 million, along with numerous trophies.
Registration for the event opens today between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm at Swept Away Sporting Complex.
Race director Alfred 'Frano' Francis said this year's 12th staging will see close to 31 countries being represented with first time participants from countries that include Argentina and Poland. This is in addition to increase visitor participation from Brazil, Japan and Canada, joining local competitors.
"The Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k has earned the reputation for being a well organised international event focused on 'runner enjoyment' as participants combine an island vacation with a great sporting event for a truly unique experience," he said.
The mostly flat course loops into the town of Negril then heads North towards the town of Green Island with closed lanes for runners who will participate on a certified IAAF and AIMS marathon course that meets international standards.
The course will remain open for seven hours after the start.
There will be 25 water/aid stations every mile along the way that will be manned by experienced marathoners and enthusiastic volunteers. There will also be cooling stations with misters and iced towel raps with inspirational reggae music at every mile.
The world famous event, sanctioned by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), will have medical stations positioned along the course and staffed by a premier multi-disciplinary medical team with a helicopter on call duty to airlift a participant needing medical care.