FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jamaican Runners Shine at 2009 Reggae Marathon
Proving that Jamaicans have the endurance to run long distances as well as
short, Jamaicans dominated the 9th staging of the Reggae Marathon, the
island's premier road race took, which took place in Negril Saturday last.
Along the predominantly flat, IAAF-certified course, local and
international runners were treated to breathtaking vistas of stunning
coastline and lush vegetation along the world-famous 7-mile beach before
heading north to Green Island Harbour.
At the start, the distinctive burning tiki torches lined the first few
metres offering a warm glow alongside the Rastafarian drummers who beat out
the start's signature soundtrack.
Local star, Kemoy Campbell demonstrated why is known as the "Usain Bolt" of
long distance running repeating his win from 2008, and leading all the way,
to win in 30:25. The 10km race has drawn increasing numbers, this year
featuring 358 participants. Added to the 425 runners in the half marathon,
and 126 full marathoners, the total was just under 1000. Looking ahead to
their 10th anniversary in 2010, organizers expect to celebrate with double
the number of participants. "We will focus on international and local
marketing, increase our presence at international expos, and keep in touch
with this year's participants, to ensure that we get a great crowd next
year," says Alfred "Frano" Francis, Race Director.
Back on the course, runners pass through Bloody Bay, Crocodile Rock, and
Orange Bay, as local residents cheer on the runners, some spraying water
from hoses to offer cool relief. Over 300 people volunteer to ensure the
marathon runs smoothly, some handing out water and Gatorade at hydration
stations set up at each mile.
In the Marathon event, Rupert Green of St Catherine, Jamaica, returned with
a vengeance to win the 2009 Reggae Marathon in 2:31:50. Green, who dropped
out of last year's race after leading for 22 miles, finally had his day to
shine. Second was last year's champion Linton McKenzie of Manchester,
Jamaica in 2:40:11 followed by Justin Henry of USA in 2:56:01. The Reggae
Marathon Female Champion, Terri Rejimbal is no stranger to Reggae Marathon.
Terri of Florida USA, who placed second in 2006 and third in 2007 bettered
her previous times by over 20 minutes to win in 3:00:56. Second was
Elisabeth Mondon, a member of the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston who
did a 3:10:10 in her first marathon attempt, followed by the 2008 defending
champion Arieta Martin of St Catherine Jamaica in 3:35:44.
Kirk Brown of Clarendon, Jamaica emerged the victor in the Half Marathon
with a win of of 1:10:11 and Stacey Bell continued her winning form from
the Grand Prix Road Race with a win of 1:31:05. Visit
www.reggaemarathon.com for more race results.
The Reggae Marathon is much more than a race. The event includes the
pre-race Pasta Party, post-run breakfast at Margaritaville, and Victory
Party that this year featured rising reggae star Etana, as well the 3-day
reggae expo. "These events bring fun and excitement," said Alfred Francis,
the Race Director. "It's not all about running, and it's important to fuse
the Reggae element to showcase Jamaica's culture."
"The Reggae Marathon is very special," says British runner Judy Hanley, who
returned this year for her fifth appearance. She reminisces almost
tearfully about her 2005 trip, when at mile 19 she felt as if she were
about to hit "the wall". "Suddenly, out of nowhere, two teenage volunteers
ran up to me and asked if they could run alongside. We chatted and
laughed, they fetched me some Gatorade and stayed with me for half a mile,
giving me the extra push to carry on."