The bag-check area and corrals are much easier logistically than most other marathons. They even have indoor space with indoor plumbing and area much like in airport lobby. They also have dreaded potta potties but on the course, they had fancy potta potties with blue water flush. You run through the various beach towns and boardwalks there was lots of cheering along the course at various spots. They had gatorade and water station every 2 miles or so with great and friendly volunteers. It's one of my favorite so far.
I went for negative split so I did well. You run with half marathoners till mile 11 split so need to run your race and not get caught in running faster that you've planned for marathon pace to have a strong finish.
The course was good, I was expecting a huge bottleneck at the beginning that never materialized, I guess we should take all reviews with a grain of salt (this one included).
The course started with a little uphill climb that flattened out quickly and represented all of the elevation change on the first half. The first half went through some nice neighborhoods and some urban area, a nice mix of things to see. The half marathoners split off between 11 and 12 and I went from running with a decent group to being by myself, there was a huge difference in half and full runners in this race.
Just after the split, the elite runners started to pass me going the other way on the opposite side of the road (yes, I am that slow). This was the first indication of how long the out and back section was going to be. I happened to notice the back of the mile 23 marker while watching the elites and wanting to see the front of that marker was stuck in my head for the next 2 hours. The course made its way down to the boardwalk with some fairly nice downhill stretches which would become uphills into the wind on the way back.
The turn around point didn't come until between miles 18 and 19 and it was a sharp turn which was not terribly welcome. As much as that long of an out and back is hard to deal with mentally, it is a tremendous boost when you finally hit that turnaround and are headed home. After the turnaround the course spends a lot of time on the boardwalk along the ocean which is really nice. It was amusing to see all the tourists who had no idea they had wandered into a marathon while out on the boardwalk. I spent more time along the ocean in this marathon than I did at Rock&Roll San Diego so kudos to New Jersey for all the ocean front running.
The finish was well organized with boxed water instead of bottled which I had only seen once before when I ran San Francisco so good to see the east coast being a little proactive environmentally. I finished in 4:48 which is a 10 minute PR for me so this will be a course I remember very fondly.
The race is point to point so you park at the start and there are shuttles to take you back to the start line after you finish. First, there were no signs in the finisher area indicating where the buses were located and it was a bad sign that they weren't close enough that you could see them. Myself and a couple of other runners got with the local police and they were able to direct us to the shuttle bus area which was at least a 3/4 mile walk from the finisher area. Then the buses themselves didn't drop the runners off in the runner parking lot, we were dropped off on the other side of the race track and had to walk almost another mile to get to our vehicles. My step counter had me at almost 31 miles for the day by the time I got back to my car. This is a great event that really does a great job for the runners, but with so many people needing the shuttles to get back to their cars it shouldn't be such an afterthought.
The morning of the race I got up very early so that I could get on the road from my hotel and to the parking area. Almost every prior review I read made comments about how awful the traffic situation was getting to the parking area with several people saying the traffic was so bad they advised leaving with 2 hours to spare. I made it onto the road with a little over an hour and a half before race time and breezed right into a parking spot so whatever issues they have had in the past must have been resolved and I got about 30 minutes of nice quiet time in the car.
By npr about 2016
Very flat. Interesting first half, monotonous second half, but it's on the boardwalk and near the shore.
Do not start out too fast and train on flat courses. anticipate cold+wind+rain or humid+hot for early May or late April
By RB about 2016
Great marathon expo and venue.
pre race bottleneck traffic and parking issues medical tent woefully underprepared for cool weather post race shuttle busses were a long walk in the cold and mud.
Pace evenly 1st half/2nd half. Careful not to go out too fast. Be prepared for warm or cool (cold) weather. Could be breezy.
Get to start line extra early...only 1 main entrance to race track
By jk about 2016
Nice flat course, cool weather, liked waiting to start inside, good expo.
By VR about 2016
Severe bottleneck during parking and entrance caused me to barely make it to the start line in time despite leaving 2 hours before the start from a nearby hotel. Gear trucks left before the race even began, and the volunteer manning the last truck became belligerent upon asking him if the truck could still accommodate my gear. Ended up having to hide my gear at the start line and didn't have dry clothes to change into at the end of the cold, rainy race. Long walk through the mud to get to the bus that would drive us back to the start. Overall a pretty miserable experience, but the course itself was flat allowing for an acceptable time.
My best tip is to choose another race. But if you must, allow excessive amounts of time to get to the start as parking and pre-race logistics are not coordinated well.