Winner of the 2016 Tottori Prefecture Japan Marathon and champion athlete Kota Taniguchi took the top spot in the male section of 2016 Reggae Marathon in Negril last Saturday, with a time of 2:38:49. Coming in second was Jamaican Rupert Green at 2:43:49, with third place winner being Brian Polen of Wooster, USA with a time of 2:58:00.
Taniguchi’s participation in Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K 2016 was part of a twinning agreement between Westmoreland and Tottori which will see both areas collaborating on agriculture and tourism projects. In turn, the fastest runner from Westmoreland will participate in the Tottori Marathon in March 2017.
Chinese champion Yingjie Sun came third in the female section of the Reggae Marathon with a time of 3:52:01, which was won by Karen Warrendorf of Vancouver, Canada in 3:39.15. Second place went to popular Chinese movie star Ting Yu, of Shangai, who reached the finish line in 3:48:19.
Three Jamaicans came in the top 3 in the male segment of the Half Marathon. First place went to Kirk Brown of Kingston with a time of 1:12:58. In second place was Gregory McKenzie with 1:13:28, while Kemar Leslie was third with a time of 1:20:12.
The winner of the female section of the Half Marathon was Brazilian Adelita Kelen Gomes who burst the tape at 1:29:03. Immediately behind her was Stephanie Zammit of Orangeville, USA at 1:39:03, while coming in third was Yuki Chorney of Mount Vernon, USA, who clocked 1:43:56.
The 10K event was a clean sweep for Jamaica with the 10K winner being Dwayne Graham of Gregory Park with a time of 32:32, while in second place was Garfield Gordon, who clocked 32:52 and in third place was Andre Walker with a time of 34:17.
The top three female winners in the 10K were: Britnie Dixon, first with a time of 41:30; Kris-Ann Plummer, came in second, clocking at 41:34 and at third place with a time of 42:06 was Shantay Chamberlain.
Vere Technical won the high schools girls’ category.
Over 2,300 persons from 37 countries registered for the event.
Among the countries which sent delegations to the event for the first time were: China, Malaysia, Turkey and Guadeloupe. There were also athletes from South Africa, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and the Russian Federation, among others.
In addition, the Reggae Runnerz group of the USA returned with a contingent of 342, in addition to first-timers Team Diabetes from Canada with 21. Other notable teams came from China, USA and Jamaica.
Reggae Runnerz again made good on their commitment to give back by making a sizeable contribution to the Green Island High School and sponsored a number of the school’s athletes to participate and volunteer in the event.
Overall, Jamaica had the largest group of 1,041 with the USA at 820 participants, followed by Canada with 179.
“There was an increase in local and corporate teams for this year’s event, “ said Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis, Race Director.
‘Frano’ said the weekend was full of fun and frolic with the ever popular JHTA’s ‘World Pasta Party’ held on Friday, December 2 at Cosmo’s, featuring the Silver Birds Steel Band and the Negril-based act Mojo Herb. Immediately following the race events on Saturday, December 3, Keznamdi and Kellisa, both upcoming conscious Reggae artistes, as well as Elton Erlington, Digicel Rising Stars winner, had the runners and walkers on their feet moving to the beat during the Victory Beach Party and Awards Ceremony at Long Bay Beach Park.
“I wish to thank all our athletes, sponsors and volunteers for making the 2016 staging of Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K another resounding success. We look forward to 2017,” he noted.