Sunday, April 27, 2003

New Jersey Shore Marathon (New Jersey)

April 27, 2003
Marathon 25, State #19 (Age 34)
Long Branch, New Jersey

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!


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