With a couple of months to go, I'm getting ready for some Reggae...Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica on December 3. This year at Reggae Marathon marks my 8th consecutive event. And while I like new adventures, returning to Reggae Marathon every December is one my all-time favourite vacation running activities.
Getting ready for Reggae Marathon ramps up now with under two months to go. I look forward to touchdown in Montego Bay: The hot late afternoon sun once out of the airport terminal; the cacaphony of sounds making my way to the JUTA Negril shuttle; the smells...the air just smells better in Jamaica.
I eagerly anticipate the drive from Montego Bay to Negril and my favourite touchpoints: The waterwheel at Tryall; the highpoint overlooking the harbour in Lucea; the marking on the road just past Green Island where the original Full Reggae Marathon course turned. And especially the sign for Long Bay Beach Park, the start and finish of Reggae Marathon. Quiet as I pass by but crazy busy come race morning.
Once checked into my hotel, the lovely Rondel Village directly on the Negril beach, I ditch the long pants and shoes and head down to the beach for my first dip in the warm Caribbean. Ahhh...I've arrived! Then it's supper with Dan.
Every year since Dan and I have been staying at Rondel Village it's the same: Red Stripe and Jerk Chicken for supper with lots of catch-up talk. Even though we keep in touch throughout the year via phone, email and of course Facebook, it's nice to be face-to-face. We really should record our conversations...I know we solve all the problems of the world. Generally it's an early turn in for me after the long travel day but it's with anticipation of an early morning run the next morning. And that first run in Negril each year is really special.
Despite the laid back attitude, Jamaicans are early risers. On our early morning run along the main Negril road traffic is steady with people going to work, kids off to school and vendors and stores getting ready for the day. There's a new sidewalk that runs almost the entire distance into the town of Negril and we often see locals sweeping and cleaning up. It's always a sweaty run this first time out but then it's a +25 degree Celsius swing in temperature for me from Toronto to Negril. Love it!
Breakfast! Dan and I meet up at the Rondel Village beach-side restaurant after we've changed into our beach toggs. We always get a menu but the decision is always the same: Hot Blue Mountain coffee, Ackee and Saltfish. Yes I make both back in Toronto, but enjoying Jamaica's national breakfast barefoot with sand between my toes is beyond sublime. We take our time but all too soon it's time for the day's major activity: Catching rays lounging beachside.
And the stories we tell! In between Red Stripes, dozing off (at least I do), dips in the Caribbean and planning what to eat for lunch it's just hours of glorious sunshine on the white sand beach. Under copiously slathered on Sunscreen of course.
Yes it's tough getting ready for Reggae Marathon. And I am ready to give it another go this December!
Until next time...