Disclaimer: I received free entry to the New Jersey Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Let’s take a trip back in time to early 2013. I had spent most of the summer/fall of 2012 training incredibly hard for the New York Marathon, and I was pretty sure I was in PR shape. I had run a tune up half marathon at the BAA Boston Half Marathon – and surprised myself by finally breaking 2 hours for the first time. Running life was good. Then, hurricane Sandy hit. The tri state area was devastated, and NYRR had no choice but to cancel the marathon at the last minute. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely felt awful for the people who had their homes severely damaged, or worse, destroyed. I lived through Hurricane Andrew in Miami, where my own neighborhood got practically flattened, so I understand the devastation. However, as a runner, I was also disappointed that I would not get to run my race that I had worked so hard for. I had made plans to run the Miami Marathon two months later with my father, but that ended up being a bust. Due to several poor training decisions about a week after the non-New York Marathon, I ended up screwing my leg pretty good, and was injured for about two months. I was able to get healthy in time to run the half marathon in Miami, but a marathon would not have been a good decision for me at the time. Womp womp.
Enter, New Jersey Marathon weekend. I may not have been able to run a marathon PR in the fall, and I may have lost some time with injury recovery, but why not try my hand at a half marathon PR? The course was flat and fast, as long, as the weather holds out (obviously, none of us can control that.) The race was just an easy drive from CT, so it was not a major hassle. The timing was right for me to come back from injury and capitalize on my fitness – without putting through my body though the demanding needs of marathon training. Well, the rest is history – the weather was great that day, I ran my heart out, and ran a 1:58 half marathon – a longstanding PR, that I was not able to break for another 4 years, until last fall at Wineglass.
While I don’t feel in quite as awesome of shape as I was a few years ago, I’m heading back to the shore on April 29th this year to give the half marathon at the New Jersey Marathon another shot! It’s two weeks after Boston, so while I don’t really expect to PR, hey you never know, right? Here are 5 reasons you should join me too:
- Fast and flat course. If you live in New England, you’ll understand what I mean that most courses around these parts are not actually flat when they are advertised as such – they tend to be “New England flat” which actually means “a few small rollers, and maybe one big hill”. Guys, this race is legit flat! It’s worth a trek over the GW Bridge just for that.
- Party down at the shore. Is there a better place to finish to a finish a race then oceanfront? No! Maybe it’s my Florida girl bias, but I just love that smell of ocean air, coming up as you cross that finish line. Plus, there’s no better way to celebrate your race than beach side.
- Weather is a win-win. If the weather is cool, it’s a smoking fast course that you can hopefully PR on. If it’s too warm? Well at least you can lay out by the beach after and feel like you are a on a mini-vacation after.
- Convenient to tri state area. If you are local to New York, there are so many great ways to get to this race. If a car is an option, you can easily drive (just have patience for traffic on the way home!). If you are staying overnight, hop a train on NJ Transit. Or, if you want to just come down for the day, the race even offers a bus direct from Manhattan. If you’re coming in from out of town, you can easily come run the race, and take a few days to come visit NYC, too!
- Races for the whole family. There’s a 5K the day before, and race day includes a mix of distances including a full marathon, marathon relay, and half marathon. Everyone can pick a distance and run!
Are you in? Sign up on the organizer’s website using code NJMBibrave18 for $5 off any race that weekend. See you down on the shore!