Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Big field for 2014 Reggae Marathon

Published:Saturday | December 6, 2014 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
file Last year's winners Gregory McKenzie and Elina Junnila

Western Bureau:

Defending overall champion Gregory McKenzie will lead the charge at the 14th staging of the world-famous Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K road races in Negril this morning. The event begins at 5:15 a.m.

The race will start at the Long Bay Beach Park in Negril with the Victory Beach Party and awards ceremony set to follow, starting at 7:00 a.m.

McKenzie, who won in impressive style last year, completing the course in a decent 2:40:45, will no doubt be seeking to erase the 2001 course record of 2:21:05 held by St Vincent's Pamenos Ballentyne.

If the conditions are perfect or anything close to being perfect, McKenzie should be able to come within touching distance of the record.

More than 1,800 runners participated in last year's event and, from all indications, the number of competitors this year should go past 2,000.

McKenzie won the overall title 2:40:45 with Englishman Mark Neel placing second, just over 16 minutes behind. McKenzie will be back to defend his title, while half marathon winner Kevin Campbell and the 10K champion Damian Bent are also expected to challenge once more for those respective titles.

Female champ out

Last year's overall female winner, Elina Junnila of Finland, may not, however, be part of this year's race. Up to yesterday afternoon, she had not registered for the event. Registration closed at 9 o'clock last night.

In the race for the high-schools title, Spanish Town-based St Jago will return as champion and will be seeking to stave off the always-quality performances from Holmwood and Bellefield High, which ran

second and third last year.