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All set for today's Reggae Marathon in Negril

Published:Saturday | December 5, 2015 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke

Western Bureau:

A host of participants will descend on the resort town of Negril for the 15th staging of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K road races, which get underway early this morning.

The races will begin at 5:15 a.m. at the customary location, the Long Bay Beach Park, and will end at approximately three hours later when there will be a victory beach party and awards presentation.

It is expected that last year's 1,800 entrants will be eclipsed this time around with male and female champions Rupert Green and Karlene Blagrove returning to defend their crowns.

Green, who defeated a strong line-up last year in a smart two hours 34 minutes 35 seconds, may have to contend with 2013 winner Gregory McKenzie to retain his title.

On the women's side, Blagrove is yet again looking to be among the top-three finishers in the 26 miles long marathon race.

Last year, Blagrove dominated the field to finish in front of Dana Martin-Kelly of Canada and Roberta Fontana from the Bahamas, who ended second and third, respectively.

The Reggae Marathon also acts as a great opportunity for high school distance runners and this year it is anticipated that many, including the ever present St Jago High, Holmwood Technical and Bellefield High School will all compete.

The event drew runners from more than 35 countries last year, surpassing the 2013 mark. This year, with registration going well, that number could also be eclipsed.