It’s December and I’m racing around already feeling like I’m behind on my holiday season tasks. Naturally, the invitation to run the Reggae Marathon and Half Marathon couldn’t have come at a better time. Let’s just say a pre-holiday escape was exactly what I needed and as you plan out your 2020 race season you should seriously consider Jamaica’s premier marathon event on your calendar and book it early. Need a little convincing? Here’s what’s instore for race day and more.
ONE: Beach Vibes On High
Situated in Negril Jamaica (about an hour and a half drive from Montego Bay airport) you’ll find some of Jamaica’s most pristine beach views. Known for its expansive seven-mile white sand beach, Negril has a chill vibe that is a welcome change from the fast pace you may be operating on this time of year. When it comes to accommodations, the Beaches Negril Resort and Spa is the ideal spot for runners and their families not only because of the close proximity to the start line but also for the range of activities including watersports, daily recreational activities and a children’s camp.
TWO: Next Level Pasta Party
Runners know the prerace pasta party well, but if you’ve never run the Reggae Marathon, then you won’t know a past a party like this one. Every resort in Negril sends it’s top chefs who offer a selection of creative pasta dishes. While you will find longstanding favourites like spaghetti and meatballs, you’ll also find seafood pasta, lasagna, and cannelloni including vegetarian options.
THREE: On Course Energy
Reggae music is a big part of Jamaican culture and it is most definitely the soundtrack for this race. But it’s not only the soundwaves of Bob Marely and the Wailers that carry you along this looped course, its the energetic waves of local residents who take the time from their morning routines to cheer runners along. With a pre-dawn race start, you might not expect runners to be such a welcomed addition to these neighbourhoods, but there is a definite appreciation, and recognition among the community, that you’re in a place where running really matters to everyone. Plus, with this pre-dawn start, an epic gradient sunrise view is guaranteed.
FOUR: Post Race Celebration
Cross the finish line and you’re instantly on white sand beaches and can dive right into the Caribbean Sea. Along with the beach party atmosphere, a Red Stripe beer, fresh coconut and Jamaican patties round out the post-race offerings which also include an added selection of Jamaican cuisine. Most races offer runners a post-race massage, but you’ve probably never had yours on the beach, which is exactly where you’ll find the recovery tents in one in Jamaica. With a reggae concert featuring a variety of current and up-and-coming artists rounding it all out, it’s one race day that is certainly ending on a high note.
FIVE: After the Race
Let’s face it, you’re in Jamaica and it’s December which means you’re going back to snow and probably right into holiday season madness which means you should seriously consider taking a few extra days to yourself. Along with the endless white sand beaches, Negril offers plenty of opportunities for added adventure from hiking trails, scuba diving and water sports and culinary classes, which allow you to truly experience the local culture. And if you’re looking for more relaxation, the Red Lane Spa at the Beaches Negril should be your pick for its tranquility and simplicity in spa service offerings.
The Reggae Marathon takes place in early December, (December 6, 2020) which might not seem like the ideal time for a destination race but that is probably exactly what many of us need, even if we don’t know it. As someone who didn’t feel she had the time to escape, I was definitely proven wrong. This was exactly what I needed to feel recharged, and ready for that mad dash through the rest of the holiday season. Sometimes you have to slow down the pace a little, to find your stride and make the moments that matter count.