Photos Courtesy of Reggae Marathon Ltd
Reggae Marathon Ltd, it is as the name suggests – a jamming long distance run, in Jamaica.
I met members of the organization on their way to Kingston, after attending the cancelled New York City Marathon. In the US, First Lady Michelle Obama, Let’s Move Campaign, is facing an uphill task getting children to exercise and eat healthy. The first lady may want to consider having a yearly running competition as an additional motivator.
I had not heard of Reggae Marathon before, but the whole idea of organizing a yearly marathon around reggae appeal to me. So I asked Diane C. Ellis, the sponsorship director, to answer a few questions for hopbrooklyn:
Q: Base upon your experiences, when you first introduce this organization to people, what are some of their reactions?
A: Mostly amazement as Jamaica is known as the “sprint factory” so a successful long distance event is somewhat of a surprise to most
Q: Describe for me what Reggae Marathon is all about?
A: Reggae Marathon is Jamaica’s premier international marathon event in Jamaica attracting visitors from over 30 different countries, the event is in it’s twelfth year and has been included four times in the world’s top ten marathon events. This year the organizers and event won the JHTA’s Abe Issa Award for excellence:
Q: Explain what makes the December 1 marathon a special event for runners?
A: The Reggae Marathon event is a fun event characterized by good vibes and lots of sweet reggae music
Q: Athletics is very big in Jamaica and your athletes have gain international fame, do you foresee such an accomplishment for marathons as well? And how do you plan to achieve this?
A: The mandate of the organizers of the Reggae Marathon event, the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston is to develop long distance running in Jamaica. Reggae Marathon is committed to developing long distance running in Jamaica and promoting a healthy lifestyle through running. We are already seeing the success of our road race series with some of the athletes participating in the Reggae Marathon series being victorious at events such as the Carifta Games in the longer distances.
Q: Inspiration comes in different ways, what inspires your institution?
A: The natural talent of our Jamaican runners, the creativity and sweet rhythms of Reggae Music and the natural beauty of Jamaica.
Q: After preparing for an event like the New York City Marathon and it is cancelled, what are some of the losses, financial or loss time, means to an organization as yours?
A: We have not calculated the loss, we calculate the benefits of being able to lure potential runners to Jamaica. The loss and dislocation of New Yorkers is far greater than any financial or time loss we have experienced
Q: You often participate in international events, what sets you apart from the other marathon bodies at these events and why?
A: The lively vibe of the promotion, the joy of the music and sport combined
Q: How many international meets do you attend per year and in which countries? Also how large are your contingents at these events?
A: Our promotions are mostly focused on the east coast of the USA, we have other representatives who promote for Reggae Marathon in Canada & Europe, the delegations are usually not larger than 4- 6 people
Q: There are achievements and moments that rank higher than others, describe some of the organization’s proudest moments to date and say why?
A: On four occasions, we received the news that the event has been included in the world’s top ten marathon events and receiving this year’s Abe Issa Award for excellence. Also seeing athletes who have participated in the event and road race series over the years, gain victory in local and international long distance events.
Q: What misconceptions would you like to change most, about marathons, in Jamaica or in general?
A: Only that Jamaican runners are not able to successfully compete in the longer distances.