This article, "COMING TO JAMAICA TO RUN" appeared in 'Hospitality Jamaica', the Tourism Supplement off the Jamaica Gleanor. I received it from Diane Ellis of the Reggae Marathon who has given great support. It is reproduced in its entirety:
Marketing consultant Christ Morales has a passion for running. A Jamaican / Canadian Morales will be among the hundreds who will gather at the Long Bay Beach Park in Negril in the early hours of December 5, in the light of bottle torches and to the sound of Reggae music as they await the starter’s orders for the ninth renewal of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K.
Morales’ objective is not only to visit Jamaica for its beauty and warmth but primarily to challenge himself to successfully complete the Reggae Marathon in memory of his father who “passed away of complications brought on by his years long battle with diabetes.” He has therefore “decided to dedicate my running to raising money for Diabetes Research in Canada. My goal in 2009 is to raise $10,000.” It will be his first trip back to Jamaica for this purpose.
Like Morales there are many others who will be taking the trip for a similar reason. Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing niches in the industry and despite the recession which, globally, is proving to be a greater challenge than many anticipated, there are those who are committed to going wherever the opportunity presents itself and their passion takes them to improve their fitness or as in Morales’ case “to raise money for a good cause.”
In addition to the local entrants, 2009 will see participants in the Reggae Marathon event coming to the island from countries as diverse as Finland, South Africa, Belgium, Brazil, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Japan and France. Some, like the Arthritis Foundation - USA chapter will also be running to raise funds. The Yellow Bird Runners, Sisters in Motion and the Running Girlz, the all female running club from Burlington, Ontario, Canada have also registered to participate.
This continues to be good news for Jamaica. According to Tanya Miller President of the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston, organizers of the event, as since its inception “Reggae Marathon has managed to make an important economic impact contributing over US$5.5 million to the accommodation sub-sector alone. We are awaiting the results concerning the food, drink, entertainment and other sub-sectors”, Miller added.
The Reggae Marathon event is also an example of community tourism at work as the entire area - from Negril to Green Island, has caught the vision and embraced the concept and all are working together to welcome the visitors and ensure that each year’s staging of the event is successful.
According to race director Alfred “Frano” Francis “the entire Negril community, from the many volunteers to the hoteliers, has come together to partner with us to present the main event as well as others like the award winning JHTA World’s Best Pasta Party at the Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex and the Village Bash in the Negril town square on December 4, as well as the Awards and Finish Line victory party on the Negril West End after the race on December 5.”
Further information and updates can be accessed at www.reggaemarathon.com
Negril here we come...:)