15th Reggae Marathon set for December 5
Using the Reggae Marathon Half Marathon and 10K as a unique Jamaican sporting event, which contributes to brand Jamaica through Sports Tourism, Wykeham McNeil-Minister of Tourism and Entertainment believes this year's 15th staging will be exemplary as Jamaica seeks to capitalise on earnings from the sports tourism industry.
The event will take place on Saturday, December 5 at 5:15a.m. at Long Bay Beach Park in Negril, with organisers expecting a record number of participants from over 35 countries.Saudia Arabia and Suriname will be the two countries with representatives set to compete for the first time.
"At the time when they started it, the concept came of Reggae Marathon, and of course that alone was such a brilliant concept, it brings together two of the strongest brands in Jamaica, sports and our music," minister McNeil said at yesterday's press launch at the Altamont Court Hotel in New Kingston.
"This event is a strong event which shows the potential of Sports tourism, where you have an event which over the years has become an IAAF certified event. It is now attracting 2,500 people from over 35 countries, from as far as Japan, it is an event that has developed a following and a name, and is now within the ranking of world marathons," he added.
"This is not something that is easy to do, but they have been able to do it, and it shows what is possible in Jamaica when we put our minds to it. And sports tourism is one of the areas where I believe we have a lot of potential," the minister underlined.
On-line registration closes on December 1, via www.reggaemarathon.com or by Reggae Marathon's office located at 87-89 Tower Street.
Race director Alfred 'Franno' Francis has invited local runners to step up to the plate and break the records.
Only one record is held by a Jamaican, Shawn Pitter for the 10k event, which he set in 2012 in a time of 29 minutes and 55 seconds.
The prize money this year is set at $1million.
"The awareness of the 15th staging of the event has brought an outpouring of support locally and internationally. Our commitment to ensuring that each year we present the best event ever is quite clear," he pointed out
Meanwhile, Lee Issa, president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce congratulated the event for its effort to sustain a high level of professionalism and for its reach internationally.