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The eighth staging of the Reggae Marathon/Half Marathon and 10k Race in Negril, Westmoreland was launched today (October 23), at a ceremony, held at the Altamont Court Hotel.
“The Reggae marathon highlights the synergies that exist between sports and culture, combining the buoyant inspirational power of reggae music, with the strength and determination involved in athletics,” Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, said at the ceremony.
She congratulated the organisers of the event, the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston, and commended them for their hard work, perseverance and endurance.
Miss Grange said that the performances of Jamaica’s athletes at the recently concluded Beijing Olympics, have reinforced the Government’s commitment to the development of sports in the country.
“This means that we do have a lot of work ahead of us, because although we have done much, there is still a lot more to be done,” the Minister added.
Miss Grange noted that athletics is an important element of Brand Jamaica and holds much potential for event and sports tourism.
Deputy Director of Tourism, Zachary Harding, also congratulated the Club for staging the marathon, while commenting on the connection between sports and culture.
“Reggae marathon is not just a sporting activity. The fact that it brings in 1,000 participants as well as perhaps 3,000 people, means that it is a tourism event,” Mr. Harding said.
He added that as a result of the economic climate, the Ministry of Tourism is looking at how to market and position Jamaica in the tourism market.
“One of the ways to do that is to identify niches that you can go after, and areas of differentiation and dominance, and sports, music and culture are three of those areas that are critical for us,” Mr. Harding said.
Participants in the marathon are expected from Lebanon, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, United States of America, Europe and Jamaica.