Ja's Green, Spain's Pilar top Reggae Marathon
Western Bureau:Jamaica's Rupert Green and Spain's Mahamud Isidiro Pilar emerged the male and female winners respectively of yesterday's gruelling 26.2 miles Reggae Marathon in Negril.
For the 35-year-old Green, who did a time of 2:35.05, it was a hat-trick of wins as he was also the 2010 and 2011 champion. For the 44-year-old Pilar, who ran 3:09.18, it was a spectacular introduction to Jamaica, as it was her first appearance in the world-rated event.
While he was happy with his win, the super confident Green, who beat fellow Jamaicans Colin Graham (3:10.28) and Brian Baker (3:10:56) in second and third places respectively, was somewhat disappointed with the quality of the field.
"I knew I was going to win but I was disappointed that there was no one to push me," said Green, who took home the Bob Marley Trophy. "It is kind of hard to run great times if there is nobody there to push you."
For Pilar, who took home the Rita Marley Trophy for taking the event ahead of Jamaicans Arieta Martin (3:26.18) and Karlene Blagrove (3:36.29), it was an experience of a lifetime.
"It was a fantastic experience, the people along the route were absolutely wonderful," said Pilar. "This must rate among my most enjoyable marathons ever."
In the secondary event, the half marathon, Jamaica swept the top three places in the male category with Gregory McKenzie taking the event in 1:11.06 followed by Kevin Campbell (1:16.30) and Kemar Leslie (1:18.13).
"It was a lovely event for me, I really enjoyed myself out there," said McKenzie, the nephew of former middle-distance kingpin Linton McKenzie.
The female half-marathon title went to the United States' Maria Florencia Morales, who covered the distance in 1:22.9. Jamaican Olympian Madrea Hyman (1:25.18) and Sarah Ivory (1:27.52) took second and third, respectively.
In the male 10K, Jamaica's Sean Pitter was all the rage, winning comfortably in 29.56. He finished ahead of Kirk Brown (30:20) and Damion Bent (31.55).
In the female 10k, which featured Jamaica's minister of sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, there was another Jamaican sweep. Tanice Barnett won in 37.23 followed by Chevaughn McDonald (37.52) and Monique McPherson (36.37).
"I never knew I was that fit ... I surprised myself," said Neita-Headley, after completing the event. "This is a fantastic tourism product ... it is great for Jamaica."
Meet organiser Alfred Francis was thrilled with both the quality of the event and the fact that it attracted some 36 countries.
"This is definitely the best of the 12 Reggae Marathons we have had ... it was just fantastic," said Francis. "I must commend my support staff and the volunteers for their excellent work here today."