By Robert Cavanaugh
This weekend thousands of runners will come to the area to race during four events at the 18th annual New Jersey Marathon.
The fitness weekend includes a marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 5K run/walk, and a health and fitness expo.
The weekend kicks off with the Fitness First: Health & Fitness Expo at Monmouth Park from 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 26, where runners will pick up their packets and have an opportunity to browse vendor booths and hear various presentations from fitness experts.
Other events are:
Saturday, April 26
Shaping NJ 5k: This 3.1 mile run/walk will start at 8:30 a.m. and be held along the oceanfront in Long Branch. The race will start and finish at the same finish line as New Jersey Marathon, located at the Long Branch Ocean Promenade, north of Pier Village. Race day registration and packet pickup will be available at the starting line.
Sunday, April 27
Long Branch Half Marathon and Half Marathon Relay: The races will begin at 6:45 a.m. at Monmouth Park and will take runners through Oceanport, Monmouth Beach and Long Branch before finishing at the Ocean Promenade.
The New Jersey Marathon: The marathon will begin at 8 a.m., also at Monmouth Park and run through eight towns: Oceanport, Monmouth Beach, Long Branch, Deal, Allenhurst, Loch Arbour, Asbury Park and Ocean Grove.
The 2013 New Jersey Marathon was won by Oz Pearlman of New York who took the race from the start and never looked back finishing in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds. The women’s top finisher was Elizabeth Drews, of Warren, who finished in 3.00:11.
The 2014 New Jersey Marathon Information Book recommends a few specific areas for those planning on watching the half marathon or marathon. They are:
- Finish area at Ocean Promenade, Long Branch
- Eastern end of Broadway, Long Branch, a short walk across Ocean Boulevard to the finish area
- Pier Village, Long Branch, which is mile 12.8 of the half marathon and mile 25.9 of the marathon
- Corner of Ocean and Brighton avenues in West End area of Long Branch, which is at mile 11.5 of the marathon and half marathon and also at the 24.5 mile mark of the marathon as it comes back north toward the finish line
- Asbury Park Boardwalk
- Between the Great Auditorium and Ocean Avenue in Ocean Grove, which is toward the southern end of the marathon course and about 7 miles from the finish line.
Throughout the day on Sunday there will be many road closures and detours in the area because of the races.
For more information about the New Jersey Marathon, visit www.njmarathon.org.
Robert Cavanaugh is an elite runner and the owner of RTC Training.