HIGHLANDS – For thousands of visitors to the Jersey Shore, taking in the sweeping sunset vistas offered by the Twin Lights is the perfect conclusion to a summer afternoon but Sunday, Aug. 10, will be a bit different.
On that day, the nation’s only connected twin lighthouse will connect with local runners for the Twin Lights Twilight 5K Run with the start time has been set for 6 p.m.
The course winds through Highlands, but begins and ends on the grounds of the Twin Lights National Historic Site and Twin Lights Museum. The final 500 yards presents a unique uphill challenge – at an elevation of 260 feet above sea level, no run of this distance on the East Coast concludes at a higher elevation.
“As a competitive runner, I’m always looking for a race with unique features and challenges,” said Doug Rice, founder of the Sandy Hookers Triathlon Club. “We’ve had our eye on the Twin Lights for a long time, so we were so pleased when the Twin Lights Historical Society approached us to partner with them on this event. ”
The north tower will be open late to the public during the Twin Lights Twilight 5K, as will the generator building, which houses one of the world’s most massive Fresnel lenses. The air-conditioned Twin Lights Museum will be available as a cool-down area for runners and their friends and families.
Free refreshments and healthy snacks will be available to everyone at the event.
“We are anticipating upwards of 250 runners,” said event chair Mike Kelly of the Twin Lights Historical Society. “However, we are equipped to handle many more thanks to our partnership with the Sandy Hookers.”
The entry fee for the race is $30 prior to Aug. 7. Race day entry will be available from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the race site. Registrants will each be issued a timing chip that is activated when they cross the starting line. All runners will receive a T-shirt commemorating the event, along with a 10 percent discount in the museum shop and a $50 Friends and Family membership to the Twin Lights.
“The Twin Lights made a lot of news in the months prior to (Super Storm) Sandy,” said Mary Jo Kenny, president of the Twin Lights Historical Society. “Since the storm, we have worked tirelessly to refocus that momentum so we could be an instrument of recovery for the region – which sometimes meant twisting arms and holding powerful people to their promises. The great cooperation we’re getting from everyone on the Twilight Run has really made this process a pleasure.”
According to state tourism statistics, the average day visitor to historic sites like the Twin Lights leaves just over $20 in local economies. Currently, the site draws 80,000-plus visitors a year. With events like the 5K run and the redesigned museum opening this fall, the goal is to boost visitation up over 100,000 annually. Registration for the 5K can be found at RaceForum.com/Twinlights.
For more information on the Twin Lights Twilight 5K, log onto twinlightslighthouse.com or call the lighthouse at 732-872-1814.