The nearly 1,000 overseas participants expected for this year’s in-person staging of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K in Negril, Jamaica will contribute to the country’s post-COVID boom in tourism, which is predicted to reach 3.7 million visitors by April 2023. Six hundred locals are also expected.
The 22nd staging of the internationally acclaimed in-person walk/run - which returns after a two-year hiatus because of COVID - is to be held from Friday, December 2 to Sunday, December 4, 2022.
With bookings already confirmed for major hotels in Negril, the largest group expected will be the over 400-member Reggae Runnerz charity group out of the USA, which will be returning for its 10th year of participation. Each year, members of the charity group help the Green Island Secondary School and other local charities in Negril by donating slightly worn athletic shoes and cash to help students participate in the annual event.
Also expected to join the race this year are teams from corporate Jamaica, as well as individuals. “This is a positive sign for us that more Jamaicans are embracing long distance running in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle through running,” said race director, Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis, at the Reggae Marathon launch earlier this month.
Another highlight of the event will be the participation of European marathoner Albert Meijir who will run in Negril as part of his dream to attend his 50th event in the 50th country visited. “His presence in Negril will also bring a lot of attention to our annual event, through extensive media coverage in Europe,” said Francis.
Although a group from Costa Rica has signed up to run virtually, countryman Cesar Lizano will fly to Jamaica to participate in the in-person event. He has represented his country in the London Olympics and this year won the Miami Half Marathon. He also came third in the San Jose Marathon. Lizano is managed by a Costa Rican, who is married to a Jamaican.
There will be $1million JMD in cash and prizes, in addition to commemorative finisher medals, certificates and Bob Marley and Rita Marley trophies sculpted by famous Jamaican artist Basil Watson, to be presented to the male and female winners of the Reggae Marathon.