McKenzie and Junnila win 2013 Reggae Marathon
By Dania Bogle
JAMAICA’s Gregory McKenzie and Finland’s Elina Junnila won the 2013 Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica on Saturday, December 7.
McKenzie, the nephew of another Jamaican long distance runner Linton McKenzie, posted 2:40.45 to win. Junnila won in a time of 3:00.04. McKenzie finished ahead of Mark Neeld (2:56:52) and Karl Baker, third (3:01:11). Jamaica’s Elizabeth Mondon was runner-up in the female section in 3:07:57 ahead of Germany's Franziska Schneider in 3:38:51.
“It was very comfortable because from the start I was up there with the lead and I didn’t get any competition from anyone, there was no one to push me,” said McKenzie after the race.
“For the past two months I’m feeling the victory, so I just come here and try to make it happen.”
McKenzie won the Bob Marley trophy and a cash prize of $75,000.
“It was a very difficult race for me, I was hoping for the first place; I had train to do a much better time than that but it didn’t happen that way today (Saturday) so maybe next year or the year after,” Mondon said.
Meanwhile, Jamaicans swept the 10K as Damion Bent posted a time of 32:04 to secure the win ahead of Obrien Crith (32:49), and Larone Haye (33:00).
The women’s 10K was won by American Brittney Sheffey in 37:03 with Jamaicans Danielle James of the Mavis Bank Track Club second (39:06) and Shanieke Watson third in 39:33.
There was a one-two finish for Jamaican in the men’s half marathon. Kevin Campbell won easily in 1:14:17. Mavis Bank Track Club’s Kemar Leslie was second in 1:15:19, while American Bryan Huberty finished third in 1:15:56.
Sweden's Outi Ben Ammars won the women’s equivalent in 1:30:14 to better Jamaica's Janetta Robinson, 1:43:22, and American Stephanie Webber, 1:43:26.
High school athletes Larone Haye, Cavahn McKenzie, Thaleeto Green, Keenon Lawrence, and Navasky Anderson helped make St. Jago the top school with a combined time of 2:53:26. Holmwood Technical was second with Bellefield High closing out the top three.
Meanwhile, the Jamaican winners of the 2013 Reggae Marathon have been invited to participate in the 2014 Venezuela Marathon by that meet's organisers. The Venezuela Marathon will take place in Caracas in February 2014.