Up to 3,000 competitors from more than 35 countries are expected to participate in the 16th staging of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, which will be held on December 3 in Negril, Westmoreland.
The event was launched on October 20 at Eden Gardens Resort and Spa, St. Andrew.
The races will begin and end at Long Bay Beach Park in the resort town. Start time is 5:15 a.m.
Reggae Marathon, considered to be among the top-10 marathons worldwide, is organised by the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston, in partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Negril Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA), Ministry of Health, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Negril Chamber of Commerce and the volunteer communities of Negril and Green Island.
More than US$10,000 in prize money is on offer as well as the Bob Marley and Rita Marley trophies for the male and female winners. There is a special prize offer for locals who break any of the race records.
One of the highlights of this year’s event will be the participation of the 2016 winners of the Tottori Prefecture Marathon in Japan.
The male Reggae Marathon winner will be sponsored to participate in an event in Japan in March 2017. This forms part of an agreement between the Westmoreland Parish Council and its counterpart in Japan.
The event will also feature a ‘World’s Best’ Pasta Party by the JHTA at the Couples Swept Away Sports Complex on December 2, and the races will be followed by a victory beach party and awards ceremony dubbed ‘Finish Line Beach Bash’.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in remarks at the launch, hailed the value of the annual event on the tourism product and enabling participants to give back to society.
“Marathons have become a tool for social intervention, giving back, and that is why it is particularly attractive to the millennial demographic. Marathons are important in enabling that vehicle for giving back and participation in public-good activities,” he said.
The Heart Foundation of Jamaica is the charity partner for the Reggae Marathon and participants are encouraged to donate to the cause.