With a new course, higher prize money and a new program of entertainment and events, the marathon is bigger than ever this year.
Run 26.2 miles and you’ve completed a marathon.
But for race organizers at Margate’s Katz Jewish Community Center, which took over the Atlantic City Marathon last year, the 2010 version of the 52-year-old race has been a lot longer — a year-long marathon of planning and enhancements that promise one of the best showings for the race in years.
The marathon sports a new course — though still a USATF-certified course and a qualifier for the Boston Marathon — higher prize money, live entertainment throughout the race and a resurgence of community involvement.
The race, held Sunday, Oct. 17, will also include more than 2,500 runners, up significantly from last year’s 1,000.
But then organizing the 2009 Atlantic City Marathon was more of a sprint.
The JCC stepped in to save the race in September just after former race director Barbara Altman had to announce the race’s cancellation after she was unable to find a race director to replace her. A 50-year tradition seemed about to end.
The JCC, however, got to work quickly and the race was held in November, barely six weeks later.
So with a whole year to execute this year’s marathon, things should have been easier, right?
“I wouldn’t say it was easy,” says Brian Barry, the current race director for the JCC. “From a planning point of view there was more time, but it still takes a tremendous effort. But we have a great staff here and so many in the community have supported this. We’ve worked with the towns involved, the police, the fire departments. The casinos have supported this and so many people from the community. It’s been hard, but it has really come together.”
One of the biggest changes this year was the creation of a new course route which will take runners on a scenic tour of Absecon Island.
“One of the biggest things we learned from the runners last year was that they didn’t like some of the loops in the course,” Barry says. “There were spots, like in Margate, where the runner would have to loop through the same ground. This new route removes some of that.”
The route now takes the runners along the Atlantic City Boardwalk, through Gardner’s Basin and the A.C. Marina district, and then Downbeach through Ventnor, Margate and Longport before returning to the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The course also takes the racers past the JCC itself on Jerome Avenue in Margate.
The Marathon has also upped the prize pool for the race to about $18,000. The marathon winners, male and female, will receive a $2,500 cash prize.
Along with the marathon itself, the event includes a half-marathon, a 10K and 5K run. Prizes are awarded for the top three finishers, male and female, in the half- and full-marathon as well as by age groups.
The big money, however, will be the awarding of a $25,000 cash prize in a raffle drawing eligible for runners in any marathon event.
The event has also added an impressive entertainment component that will situate live bands at four race points, including the start/finish line. Equity communications will also have four vans on hand representing radio stations 95.1 WAYV, 100.7 WZXL, 96.1 WTTH - The Touch and 99.3 Kiss-FM.
“The vans will actually be doing double duty on the course, so it will seem like there are eight vans,” says Barry.
Another aspect of the race, will be a pre-marathon celebration at The Walk in Atlantic City Saturday from noon-4pm. The event features a two-mile walk, a scavenger hunt, vendors and entertainment.
“We’ve been working with The Walk, and they have been wonderful,” says Barry. “It’s something we wanted to promote in the city. Every runner brings an average of about 2 people with them. That means there will be 7,500 or more people in town for the race. Some will want to gamble, of course, but some will want to shop. We wanted to tie that in.”
On Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7, nearly six months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the beaches of New Jersey and beyond, the Atlantic City Marathon Race Series will welcome over 3,000 runners back to the Atlantic City Boardwalk to participate in the 2013 Revel April Fools Half Marathon and Shore Medical Center 11K & 7K races.
The Atlantic City Marathon Race Series has joined forces with Road Runners Club of America and eight other races in a “Restore the Shore” effort to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.
Hopefully the Atlantic City Marathon will one day serve as a microcosm for the city whose name it bears — an entity that fell on hard times only to reverse its fortunes and recover stronger than ever.
Plus, the Atlantic City Triathlon, the Album of the Week (Bob Dylan's superb 'Tempest') and Drew Toonz.
If all goes as planned, Atlantic City will have its most substantial non-gaming, built-from-the-ground-up and demographically diversified amenity in place by 2014.
Plus Drew Toonz, the Album of the Week (Howlin' Wolf) and 2012 AC Marathon Races
ATLANTIC CITY — The organizers of this year’s Atlantic City Marathon, organized through the Katz JCC in Margate, have clearly made a decision. Let’s spice things up a bit. Yes, they’ve got a 53-year-old marathon tradition and the race is still a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. More than 3,000 runners have already signed up for the events (which include a half marathon and a 10K and 5K run), easily topping last year’s 2,700 runners and with more likely to register on race day, Sunday, Oct. 16. And this year a new course design is in effect to take better advantage of Atlantic City’s northside Boardwalk and the scenic back-bay views of Downbeach. So the racing part is there and going strong. All that was left was to spice...
“We haven’t even put on a race yet, but what [the recognition from Active.com] shows is that Atlantic City is a national power. And being able to offer a triathlon is just another step in the evolution of progress in Atlantic City.”
Organized by the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, the event is part of an effort to create more non-gaming and family oriented activities in the city.
It was a sad day in late September for Barbara Altman, local radio host and the longtime race director of the Atlantic City Marathon, as she made calls to the local media. The race, a more than 50-year tradition in the city, would not be held since no race director had been found. After 20 years, Altman was stepping down and had not found a capable replacement. The announcement came less than a month before the marathon’s scheduled Oct. 18 date.
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