- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
My issues with this race are more about how it was run/organized rather than the race itself. It was the first year, so maybe (hopefully) there will be improvements next year.
Getting to the race isn't difficult but there are issues. The start is at Hecksher State Park and public transportation is not an option. There was still plenty of parking when we arrived, however it took a SIGNIFICANT amount of time to get to the lot and they only had one lane of one road open to get to it. Then the walk to the start was long. I should have had my Garmin on to measure the exact distance, but I didn't. The end result of this was being one of the last people to cross the start line.
They also have a marathon option and both races started with parallel start lines. There were no corrals, so it was based on the honor system. It's essentially an out and back course.
The race is "in support of our veterans" so there were veterans out cheering, running some of the water stops, which was great. The beginning stretch of the course takes you out of the park and on/along a highway, so there isn't much crowd support and there isn't much scenery, but the course is relatively flat.
Around mile 4 you enter the town and the crowd support is GREAT. Lots of cheering, lots of signs, lots of people handing out water and other race goodies. Again, not particularly scenic, but the crowd support more than compensated for it.
At mile 6 is where the turn around is and you run in St. John's Long Island campus. It's pretty, lots of trees, but this is where there was a major issue (for me) with the race. As you exit the campus, there was a water stop, but they ran out of water. Correction. They had plenty of water, but they ran out of cups. So they were able to refill water bottles if you had them. If you didn't you were screwed. Although I am a slower runner, I was within the course time limits and so there is no excuse that I couldn't get water. The weather (hot and humid) did not help this issue.
Fortunately, as I had mentioned the crowd support was amazing and there were people handing out cups of water as well as full bottles of water. Miles 4-8 (minus the mile you're in St. John's) were the best part of this course because of the amazing people.
After mile 8, you were back along the highway. After mile 9 there's a break from the highway with a detour through an arboretum. This scenery was beautiful, plants, trees, views of the water. However, and this was not mentioned anywhere prior to the race until you got to this section, you started running on a trail. It was narrow, with branches, rocks, etc. and had you not been paying attention, there could have been some serious injuries. A trail section is not a huge deal, but the runners should have been made aware of this prior to the race.
The "home stretch" is again back through the park on/along highway with not much crowd support.
When you finish the race, you are given a medal. There was water, bagels, apples, bananas and THE BEST BROWNIES EVER available and given to the runners. That brownie alone was worth the 13 miles.
After the finish, there was a farmer's market type after "party" for the runners and family to attend feature local food and beverage merchants. I admittedly did not stay for this.
Trying to leave the park was an absolute nightmare. Because, again they only have one road open, it took approximately an hour to get out of the park and be able to get onto a main road/highway. The way out was at an absolute standstill.
Overall, the race itself was OK. Nothing spectacular (other than the stretch of crowds), but getting to and from the race is a nightmare, no water at water stops is unacceptable (if within the time limits) and there is a trail stretch.