For an event that was originated less than 48 hours before the start it was incredibly well organized. The idea came from a women in Hunterdon County, NJ who was schedued to run the NYC Marathon. She decided to skip the Marathon (before it was officially canceled) and organize an event to raise money for relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I saw it on Facebook from a friend around 5 pm on Friday. I was going to be doing my own 10 miles alone on Sunday (or try to find a local running buddy) and thought that for $20 this seemed like a good idea. Another of my training buddies - Kristi Y - decided she would put in her miles there as well.
The event was promoted to runners and walkers as an opporutunity to complete anything from 1 to 26.2 miles. The suggested donation would go 100% to Sandy Relief. Facebook sent the thing into overdrive and by Saturday evening they had 130 registrations. When we arrived (at 9:55 for a 10 am start - more on that later) they were still managing walk up registrations. I just read on the FB Page that the final total was over 200 with 50+ doing the full 26.2 miles.
We had been told to bring our own hydration and fuel. However, there were some hastily arranged water stops with the cutest little kid volunteers and some gu stations (all donated) in the longer miles for the full marathoners. There were people cheering us along the course and crossing help at all turns on the course and major intersections. There were even a few police helping out. I heard that when the Mayor of Clinton found out about the event he offered their help. Cool! There were directional signs everywhere and mile marker cards as well. Theses were not entirely accurate - posted on the nearest pole or tree but they were very close! It was impressive.
At first I got caught up in the event and thought I might try to do a half marathon but 2 miles in I realized that was silly. I had 10 on my schedule and 10 was a good number. My brother in law, Mark, - who lives in Clinton - ran the first 5 with me then continued on to finish a half marathon distance when I turned around. The course was so well marekd it was easy to find my way back.
The weather today was cool - it never reached 50 while we were out there - and a bit windy but dry and really quite pleasant. The course was hilly. Anyone who thinks New Jersey is flat has never been to Hunterdon County! Still they weren't any worse than the hills we do at home. Those on this course did kind of keep coming at you though and the first mile was downhill and you know what that mean. :) I ran 3 and 1's the entire way.
On the first 5 I chatted with Mark and exchanged family and training news. On the return 5 I was left to my own thoughts. I thought a lot about my friends Pete and Sophorn who were completing 100 miles today in the mountains of Alabama. They were both running in the Pinhoti 100 trail race. I am in awe of them. Kristi and I talked about them on the way up to Clinton, NJ this morning. She asked if I had any designs on doing more than a marathon. I admitted that I did but what I really want is to have the discipline that Pete and Sophorn need to stay focused on those long miles.
So about the ride up. Kristi and I chatted about a bunch of things. And in the end I missed the Lehigh Valley exit off 476. I know I will not live this one down with my family. It is what it is. We were going through the Lehigh Valley Tunnel when I realized it. I knew the tunnel was not part of this trip. We got turned around and back into Clinton and missed the turn on to a road that would take us to the park. This was only partially our fault as the directions we had didn't include that turn. Then when we turned around on route 31 to come back we had to do a jughandle turn to make the needed left and the traffic light was out. I guess because of that there were barriers designed to discourage people from going across. However, there was a gap and we took it!
Fortunately the course was very well marked and there were no mishaps there. :)
I had a great run, I got to support a great cause (I wish I could do more however) and I finished 10 hilly miles in 1:58:01.... which is a very good time for me.