Today’s marathon events brought thousands of runners and supporters to the shores of the New Jersey coast on a day perfectly made for running. Assembling in the parking lots of Monmouth Park Racetrack, the 8000 + athletes set off and meandered through the streets of Monmouth County on their way to glory and (well-deserved) bragging rights via the finish line at Pier Village.
Mother nature could not have been more cooperative as the weather was a sunny 47 degrees when the “A” wave took off. The sun was bright, but not overwhelming and the winds were generally light, even throughout the last ocean-side stretch.
In addition, the spirit of the marathon was in full effect across all facets of the race. The RunJersey.com team split up as some of us ran the half marathon and others donned our journalist hats so we could cover the race. We all agreed that moral was exceptionally high this year, not only amongst the athletes, but also among spectators, volunteers and race personnel.
Before, during and after the race, we spoke to tons of people to get their take. Most of them were riding the high of completing the enormous challenge they set for themselves. Across the board, the feedback we received was tremendous as folks clearly loved this race.
The marathon/half marathon experience exudes so many wonderful takeaways that make us all love the sport. Two athletes that embody that enthusiasm and camaraderie were Jessica Barzilay of Jackson and her running partner, Roberta Truitt of Little Silver. The pair met training with “Coach Mac” in a class geared for the novice runner. A mere 10-days ago, their coach convinced them to register for the half and they were ecstatic after they crossed the line. With her entourage in tow, Jessica said it best, “It was incredible. Flat and the spectators were the best.” Roberta quickly agreed, “The views of the ocean and the rivers were also great for us.”
Those sentiments were also shared by many others including Chery and Susan of Plainfield and Scotch Plains respectfully. The two first-timers loved the scenic route as well as the large, loud crowd. The duo thanked the organizers and volunteers for such a well-organized race.
Former Monmouth University sprinter-turned distance runner, Dan Unkel also agreed. He successfully made the transition from the 8-lanes of the MU track to the grueling roads of longevity known too well by the distance runner. “It was a good experience for my first distance race.”
Shortly before the full marathons reached the finish tape, we grabbed our friend Joe Gigas, the Race’s Executive Director, for some quick insight. Joe was happy with the race “so far”, noting that the weather was great as were the spectators and volunteers. He congratulated all the runners and noted his pride in local product, Dactilia Booth who took the crown in the women’s Half in her hometown.
On behalf of all of us at RunJersey.com, we have 2 messages to share. First, a huge congratulation to everyone…Whether you set a new PR or finished in last place, we applaud every one of you for your dedication and effort. Secondly THANK YOU, THANK YOU and THANK YOU! We appreciate that it takes an army to make this event sizzle. We thank every police officer, EMT, cheerleader, sign-maker, youngster handing us water and all involved to make this event a success.
More Pics and race news to follow.
Please feel free to send us your ½ marathon or marathon story. We love this stuff!