ON FRIDAY IT ALL GETS REAL! REGGAE, REGGAE

12.05.2015
Rise up in the mornin'

Rise up in the mornin’

I arrived Wednesday afternoon in Negril and enjoyed a fairly quiet day on Thursday. Early morning run to get acclimatized (as if you can actually do that in two days). Better than nothing and good fun running the brand new tiled walk that runs from the Negril Round-About right out to where package pick-up and the pasta party happen, and just short of the start/finish venue at Long Bay Beach Park. Checked out the pick-up and got my registration stuff. Easy walk home and a few chats with runners not quite sure where they were headed.

Reggae Runnerz in the house at Rondel Village!

Reggae Runnerz in the house at Rondel Village!

By Thursday evening the hordes of Reggae runners, make that “Reggae Runnerz” had showed up. So had “That Runnin’ Guy” and if I wasn’t sure before, it all started to get real. You know you are at a major running event, when everyone around you also seems to be part of that event. That sure is how it was at Rondel Village today. Big happy buzz in the air!

Registration and Package Pick-Up and Chris

Registration and Package Pick-Up and Chris

Friday started with a run into Negril Town (our traditional shake-out route), followed by a traditional ackee and saltfish breakfast and a little beach time before heading to the race HQ and the fun. So many eager runners, a lot who were first time participants but an amazing number of returnees, some for several years running. Would be an interesting stat to know how many people are returnees, how many are running a ‘streak’ and how many new. As an old RD, I’m betting the number of returnees and streakers is inordinately high, especially for a destination race. Organizers are already sharing that some 35 countries are represented in the registration, but that number is more than a few days old, so maybe by tomorrow it will push 40.

Art and Food - carved watermelon

Art and Food – carved watermelon

Pasta Anyone??

Pasta Anyone??

As always, pasta and all the stuff that goes with it is the feature of Friday evening. That and the steel band and reggae music and just a lot of camaraderie and catching up with old friends. As I’ve said before, I have made a bunch of friends who, while we keep in touch via social media and such, only see each other on this weekend! While the Red Stripe is surely there, most people hold back, knowing that in a good deal less

Reggae Marathoners enjoy the pasta party.

Reggae Marathoners enjoy the pasta party.

than 12 hours they will be running the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon (or) 10K. In other words, before the sun rises, we are all going to be well into our run. In truth, a good many will be finished. The quicker 10K participants will finish before dawn begins to colour the sky. Some of us usually wind up breaking away from the party for the media briefing. Yes, Running in the Zone is media! So many great stats put before us tonight including a new record number of runners (over 2300) with a large international representation. Final numbers will be posted by the official Reggae Marathon outlets.

The original Reggae Marathon banner!

The original Reggae Marathon banner!

One fun item tonight was the handing over of the original race banner to the Jamdammers Running Club that is the heart and soul of the event. Like many, I get well prepared the night before the race and lay things out for the morning. Don’t want to forget anything at the early hour we all will rise.

Represent

Ready to “Represent”

Note ‘Flat Dan’ laid out and ready to race! I personally hope to finish my 10K somewhere in the 1:05 to 1:10 range (originally thought 1:05 but this year is promising to be a bit warmer and a bit more humid than usual, so maybe 1:10 is more realistic). Whatever, I should finish just in time to turn around and watch the winner of the half marathon cross the line. Either that, or get passed just before my own finish! It still will not have come official sunrise at that time! As the sun rises, Long Bay Beach Park will come alive with live reggae music and happy race finishers, and that will continue for several hours as the 10K folk finish up, the half marathoners really start to finish in numbers and the marathon winners start rolling through.

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