After a two-year absence, the full staging of the Reggae Marathon returns this weekend with the marathon, half marathon, and 10K races on Sunday morning, getting under way at 5:15 am.
The Marathon was last held in 2019 with runners from over 40 countries, including entries for the first time from Malta, Madagascar, Peru, and Macau taking part.
Both the 2020 and 2021 stagings were virtual and last year more than 600 people chose to come to Jamaica to run the course in their own time.
Event organiser Alfred Francis is happy that the event will return to its usual format this year.
"The aim of this year's Reggae Marathon is to return the Reggae Marathon to its full glory and niceness," Francis told the Jamaica Observer recently. "We have had two years of dormancy, where we only had virtual events, so it is really to return to the engaging, embracing culture, physical culture, and every aspect that has made Reggae Marathon a world-renowned event."
Registration, which started earlier this year, will continue until Saturday at Swept Away Resorts in Negril, which will also host the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) 'World's Best' Pasta Party between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
"We want to get rid of the scepticism [regarding] COVID-19 and allow persons to come and enjoy themselves without any fears and just come to Negril and have a fun time," Francis said.
He expects a massive turnout at this year's event because many people from overseas have expressed their interest in competing in the event.
"Reggae Marathon is a destination marathon, and this year we hope to have visitors from over 30 countries and renewed partnerships with many of our Reggae Marathon ambassadors who [have] flown the flag of the Reggae Marathon both locally and internationally," Francis said.
The World Athletics certified course starts at Long Bay Beach Park and heads towards Negril, loops through the town then heads north to Bloody Bay and returns to the finish at Long Bay Beach Park.