Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reggae Marathon 2013

For many it's on their bucket list.  Others do it as a team, 150+ running strong. For me, it was all about coming for the run but staying for the fun!  The Reggae Marathon, held every year the first Saturday of December, has consistently been growing in number of participants; this year was no exception.  Almost 2000 fun loving, runners and walkers from all over the world with different skill levels gathered at Long Bay Beach for a 5:15am start. With reggae music playing live, it was hard not to get excited despite my internal alarm clock insisting I should be hitting snooze!  We stayed at Beaches Negril, so it was a quick 5 minute walk to the start line.  I was fortunate enough to be with the Sandals Foundation team proudly wearing our turquoise blue shirts.  

Festivities kicked off the night before during the World Best Pasta Party at Couple's Swept Away.  Even the most discerning palates were satisfied by the variety of food. Honestly, food was what brought us there, but the people is why we stayed.  Having connected with many on social media, we were simply online friends.  Here we made those face to face connections and reminisced about all the blogs, tweets, status updates and motivational tips we've shared leading up to this event.  Chris, Dan, Larry and Karen were there and Jen and I got to meet them after only knowing them by their twitter handles or cartooned avatars. Some met online only to find out at the pasta party they lived literally miles from each other! It's a small world after all!

Deep in a sea of rasta loving, excited and even some nervous souls, we all left the gates with smiles after the horn signaled the race start. I had my own cheering section; my family got up early to see me off.  Cute little messages in marker on my race shirt like, "Go Mom", helped me remember I had some of the smallest fans in stature waiting for me at the end!  With tiki torches, music and on lookers from the hotels and even locals lining the race course, this was sure to be one of the most exciting races I'd ever ran.  Before coming, I was terribly nervous of the heat.  After all, it was about a 100 degree temperature swing coming from Minnesota to Jamaica.  Surprisingly, I found 75 degrees to be cool  and comfortable with a light ocean breeze prior to sunrise.  My goal wasn't nearly time as much as it was to finish prior to sunrise when things really heat up quickly.


Without the aid of my iPod playlist, Garmin watch or even a knowledge of where it officially ended, I finished the 10K strong, yet I knew at the end I could've ran harder.  This in itself was a bit of a let down, but I try to not make excuses.  After all, I had just completed my first 10K before most of the world had even thought about getting up! And there was the largest beer tent awaiting me to celebrate my achievement and massage beds lining the beach to encourage me to relax and revel in the runners high and start planning a group for 2014.  Who wants to come for the run and stay for the fun?  I promise, it's like no other experience you've ever had!


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