Tuesday, August 11, 2015

15 years and counting for Reggae Marathon

Larry, Navin, Me, Dan at Reggae Marathon

15 years ago this year a small group of runners gatherd in the pre-dawn darkness on the road in Negril.  Through the efforts of the Jamdammers Roadrunners Club of Kingston, they'd been convinced that running a Marathon on the road that stretches along the beach from Green Island to Negril was a good idea. Reggae Marathon was born.  15 years later it turns out that is was a GREAT idea!  

This December 5, runners from over 30 countries from around the world will gather at 5:15 am at the same spot at Long Bay Beach Park for to compete in three Reggae Marathon running events:  Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K. What began as a dream has grown into a world-class event.  But these are Jamaicans...we never do anything half assed.
Celebrating the finish with a dip in the Caribbean Sea

This December marks my 7th consecutive visit to Reggae Marathon.  It's the only race I do now even though there are many local 10K's and Half Marathon events in-and-around the Greater Toronto Area.  The travel is a drag but once I get off the plane in Montego Bay, everything changes.

My experience at Reggae Marathon isn't unique in meeting fellow runners and making friends even though we only see each other once a year.   Larry, Navin, Dan and I are the core of the Reggae Runners Challenge and have 30 Reggae Marathon events between us...we're hoping to add to that again this December.  I met a runner 2 years ago who had run in every Reggae Marathon!  13 to-date to that point.  I missed seeing her last year but know she was there.

I ran my first Reggae Marathon in 2009.  It was a complex, emotional experience. I ran to honor my Father who had passed away the year before and to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association.  But again I'm not unique. I've met runners who've overcome serious health issues and are dealing with personal losses.  They come to run Reggae Marathon to heal those personal demons and to raise money for their cause. I love listening to them tell their own stories. They inspire me!  On those days when I'm feeling sorry for my own small running setbacks, I only have to recall one of those conversations on the beach in Negril and I start smiling.

Reggae Marathon turns 15 this December 5th and this will by my 7th consecutive. It's become my touchstone for celebrating another year of running!

Until next time...

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