|Larry, Karen, Dan (Al behind Dan) capping off another Reggae Marathon|
This past week at Reggae Marathon in Negril was my 8th consecutive time in Negril. Because the date of the Reggae Marthon on the first Saturday in December coincides with an annual Family Christmas Party I've missed the family back home. I did manage to participate via a Facebook Live Video call but I chose once again to spend the weekend with my running family.
This year at Reggae Marathon joining Dan and I at our Negril home, the ever wonderful Rondel Village in the centre of the beach strip was his non-running friend of 51 years, Al. Dan is persuasive and determined...he got a non-runner to make the long trek from Vancouver to go to a...running event in Jamaica!
After the usual talk and family catch up that Al sat through stoicially, we got down to more serious matters. "What makes the Reggae Marathon unique", asked Al innocently. That's all it took to get us started. That and a couple or three cold Red Stripes as we lounged on the balcony outside Dan's room. And it was one of those questions that Dan and I were stumped at first in answering succinctly. We talked for hours about the usual things that we experience at Reggae Marathon:
- The running of course. We're runners and getting to race at 5:15 am in the dark on a Saturday morning with 2,300+ other crazy runners is a memorable experience. But we've all had our share of race starts.
- Vacationing on the beach. 7 miles of white sand is nirvana for a beach lover and match that up with warm Caribbean Sea water lapping gently on the sure and I don't know if gets much better than this. But then I've been to Bondi Beach.
- Runcation! That must be it. Lisa Laws and the Reggae Runnerz have coined that phrase to more directly explain the combination of running + vacation. But...I run on all my vacations.
On to dinner to continue the conversation...
- It's the post-race party. Fresh-cut coconut, Red Stripe beer, swim in the Caribbean right outside the finish area. Ahhh...now we're getting somewhere but still not the 'it'
Then it came to me this morning while running barefoot on the beach with Dan courtesy of a chance meeting with Gene Collier on the bus to Negril last Wednesday: "It's fun". Gene is the 62 medal man...he completed 62 endurance running events in 2015. That's more than 1 per week! I asked him why and his simple answer was, "It's fun".
I love running because it is fun for me. The mental and phsycal toughness learned from a lifetime of running. Overcoming obstacles, setbacks and life challenges...all learned from running experiences. Planning and thinking about the next run. Looking forward to meeting up in person each year in Negril with my running family...totally fun!
The Reggae Marathon Running Experience is fun. It's a once-a-year experience that takes a lot of planning to make happen. In between life can sometimes get in the way but through our friendships and with the help of Facebook, we somehow always seem to make it to Negril to have fun
Until next time...