A Sound-Off in Negril Square on Thursday, December 4 featuring Negril area sound systems will select winners to be included in 14 music stations along the 26.2 mile, looped course to herald the start of the Reggae Marathon and Half Marathon & 10K . The annual road race event has built a famed international reputation since its first staging in 2001 and is ranked by the London Times as one of the top 10 best road races in the world. The infusion of reggae music both on the course and in associated events, a unique blend of sports and culture, is what makes the Reggae Marathon, now in its 14th year, so unique.
On Saturday, December 6 race participants can expect the soothing sounds of Reggae from music stations at every mile post along the race route to boost their morale and give an extra jolt of energy to the over 1800 expected participants.
Reggae music is everywhere at Reggae Marathon, from the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s (JHTA) sponsored Pasta Party at Couples Swept Away on Friday, December 5, to Saturday morning’s torch-lit 5:15am start on Norman Manley Boulevard and finally to the finish line Beach Bash Party at Long Bay Beach Park.
Race Director Alfred Francis explains the importance of including the music stations, as it brings an intangible element to the event which has become one of is marquee features. Music stations are not only positioned along the route, but there are also mobile stations which lead and follow the runners and help to motivate them to the finish, all the while offering a taste of Jamaican culture. The music en-route is also methodically chosen to ensure appropriate and motivating rhythms and selections.
“We consider the music men as part of the Reggae Marathon team. What they do is irreplaceable in terms of the value to the event itself, and their ability to motivate and interact with participants during the run is a massive asset which has developed into one of the unique features of the event over the years. They are verse in hospitality and is one of the reasons the international guests feel so at home at the event each year while getting to experience our culture through music,” said Francis.
The indigenous Jamaican music has been such a massive influence on the Marathon that the top awards are named after Jamaica’s very own ‘Reggae Royals’ with the Bob Marley and Rita Marley trophies handed out to the male and female Marathon champions respectively.
The Reggae-filled event will come to a close with live performances at the Victory Beach Party and Awards Ceremony at Long Bay Beach Park onSaturday, December 6 starting at 7am. The public is invited to the concert to celebrate along with the runners the achievement of having finished in the 2014 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon or 10K events.