Sunday, April 27, 2003

New Jersey Shore Marathon (New Jersey)

April 27, 2003
Marathon 25, State #19
Long Branch, New Jersey
3:52:56
https://www.thenewjerseymarathon.com/



This race features a total weekend of fitness and fund raising for Children's Charities.  Not only is there the marathon, but also a 10 mile fit run/walk, kids races, a fitness expo, and a marathon walk.

In 2003 over 1,800 runners were registered in the 7th annual New Jersey Shore Marathon.  The field is limited to 2,000 marathoners, so even though you can register the day before the race it's not recommended.



The course is very flat and offers a tail wind the majority of the race so I would recommend this race especially if you are looking for a PR or a first timer.

This race was extra special for me because I decided for my first time to attempt to run back to back marathons in the same weekend.  My Saturday race was in Delaware only two hours away.  I didn't know what to expect from my body for day two, but was pleased to run consistently 8-9 minute miles throughout the entire course.  Having great crowd support, a large number of runners, and frequent aid stations on a flat course where ideal.







One of only two New Jersey marathons, the Jersey Shore Marathon features a diverse, scenic point-to-point course along the northern New Jersey coast.  The first eight miles of the route loop through Gateway National Recreation Area, a.k.a. Sandy Hook, passing historic Fort Hancock, which years ago played a role in defending New York Harbor.  While skirting the shore of Sandy Hook Bay near 5 miles, runners enjoy a spectacular, across-the-bay view of Navesink Twin Lights Lighthouse.  While leaving Sandy Hook near mile 9.5 you encounter the only hill on the course, a 40-foot overpass leading into Sea Bright.  From the top of the overpass if you look backwards you can see the New York City skyline.  The remainder of the course heads along a straight, two-lane road through residential and commercial areas of Sea Bright and the three other coastal boroughs of Monmouth Beach, Long Branch, and Deal.  Along the way, you run along the Ocean Promenade in long Branch, past historic St. Michael's Church, and along Lake Takanassee, site of George Sheehan Memorial Monument.  The race finishes on the all-weather track at Long Branch High School's Bresett Stadium.  Ocean lovers may be disappointed that the course, with the exception of the Ocean Promenade, offers few oceans views.  [Craythorn & Hanna]








Nothing but greatness about the race organization and support.  Nearly every mile was an aid station offering both water and sport drink.  Since the race begins on Sandy Hook there is limited traffic flow in and out of this area.  Crowd support is scattered throughout the entire course.   Finishing in the high school football stadium gives plenty of room for all your fans to cheer you on at the finish line.  Food, massage, and tents for souvenirs are located at the finish.






The official race hotel was the Holiday Inn where also race packet pickup.  We found a hotel, nothing fancy, less than two miles from the start not on this list called the Macintosh Hotel for $80 / Night.  They did allow us to return at 2pm after the race for shower!


 




Saturday, April 26, 2003

Triple Crown Trail Marathon (Delaware)

April 26, 2003
Marathon 24, State #18
Newark, Delaware
4:40:34

 
 
This is a small event which seems really reserved for the more serious runners.  There was a large percentage of the participants from the 50 state clubs.  As simple of a race this is, it is very well organized. 

The race is located at White Clay Creek State Park.  The nearest camping is in another state park 13 miles away called Lums Pond State Park where my friend Mike and I camped in the heavy rains the night before.





This is a 2 loop trail marathon and much tougher terrain than a road marathon.  The course is marked with spray chalk on the ground and survey flags with additional arrows to clarify turns at trail junctions.   The race begins in an open meadow and quickly narrows to a single track for a majority of the course.  The scenery constantly changes every mile from dense woods, open meadows, and lots of hills!  There are a couple of stream crossings, the second one was especially high water over knee high in places.  There are six water/traffic control stations which are passed twice.  The course in my opinion is not terribly difficult, but it is far more challenging than a road marathon, especially given wet terrain.  



There is very little crowd support due to the fact that you are running through the woods for the whole marathon.  The only people you encounter along the course are where the course crosses a couple back roads and at the half way point where you make a turn around for the second loop.

This was a new challenge for me because I decided to attempt to run two marathons in one weekend.  Saturday in Delaware and then onto New Jersey, only 2 hours away, on Sunday.

I traveled with my good friend Mike leaving from Columbus on Thursday evening.  We got a late start so only made it 3 hours to Morgantown, WV where we camped for the night.  We checked in after hours and didn't realize until morning that we were the only campers and the campground didn't open until May 1st!




We ventured on to Baltimore and had lunch downtown at Hard Rock Cafe and then on to Newark, NJ.  Our campground had a large dog show which we thought would be entertaining until I began to rain steadily for the next 24 hours.  Because of the rain the course was extra challenging with the soft ground turning the course into a giant mud pit. 



I was trying to hold back, but somehow finished 24th overall.  The stream crossing was a new experience for me.  I think I was the only runner to stop each time, remove my shoes, wade across, an then put them back on.  I guess everyone else's feet were already soaked from the steady rain all morning so they didn't care.  The first time I stopped I got passed by about 25 runners in a big pack, but they got lost on the trail and I managed to pass them all by not following their error.  



It was fun to talk to a few runners that have many more marathons under their belt.  One guy was running his 51st marathon in Alaska this summer!




Each finisher receives a medallion.  Race tee shirts are available for $10 each and are not included with the entry fee. 

There are several hotels that are in the area and the local Howard Johnson's offers a discounted rate for participants. There is no camping at White Clay Creek State Park however 13 miles away Lums State Park offers camping for $21 per night.  http://www.destateparks.com/lpsp/lpsp.asp