2014 Race Director Update #5

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18th Annual Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon, April 25-27

Full Marathon, Half Marathon & Relay, Health & Fitness Expo, 5K, Family Events & Kids Races

Race Director Update #5 – 6 weeks until Race Weekend

Thank you for registering for The 18th Annual Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon Weekend. In an effort to make your participation more enjoyable, here is the fifth in the series of weekly messages. Copies of these updates are also available on our Website.

Important Summary – Smooth Sailing on April 27th – See Race Director Update #1 for more details:

  1. Pre-Race: Carpool and be in the parking lots between 75-120 minutes early, or take the Special Race Day Train to the Start. Click here for a train ticket ($10).
  2. Pre-paid parking at Monmouth Park: We strongly suggest this pre-paid option.  Click here for a pre-paid pass ($5).
  3. Pre-paid parking near the Finish Area: Guaranteed Parking for spectators at 7-President’s Oceanfront Park in Long Branch.  Click here for a $15 pass.
  4. Post-Race – Getting to your vehicle: Take a regularly scheduled NJ Transit train, walk to a parking lot near the Finish Area, or take one of our free buses back to Monmouth Park.
  5. Race Day Gear Check: Take advantage of this free service for dry, warm, clothing after your race!
  6. Race Packet Pick-up: Free at the Expo. Paid service on race day morning. Click here to register ($25).
  7. Race Day Security Information for Athletes, Spectators, Press, Volunteers and Race Staff: Click here for special race day security requirements.

On-Course facts

1. Course Updates:

Our Half Marathon/Relay course was certified by the USATF last year and will remain the same this year (a course certification lasts for 10 years, as long as there are no changes to it). A  static course map is on-line on the Half Marathon and the Relay pages on our website, as is a scalable course map.

Our Full Marathon course, which shares approximately the first 11.6 miles with the Half/Relay course, is almost completed.  The holdup is due to repairs which are currently underway on the Asbury Park boardwalk (it is completely ripped up between 3rd Ave. and Convention Hall at 5th Ave).  We have been told that it will be ready prior to race day, but in its current condition the USATF Certifiers cannot measure that section.

As a precaution, we are looking at three alternatives: one which will take the course off the boardwalk completely heading southbound, and two other options which will either leave the boardwalk at 3rd Ave. for a few blocks or never return to the boardwalk after the exit at 3rd Ave., heading northbound.  Having these alternatives will ensure that we have a fully certified full marathon course even if the boardwalk repairs are delayed for some reason.

In addition, Ocean Grove has not completed storm related repairs to the northern end of their municipality and that will cause us to reroute entry into Ocean Grove via a foot bridge over Wesley Lake instead of using the more direct land route between Asbury Park and Ocean Grove.  However, this year we will only use a footbridge approach to Ocean Grove when heading southbound, and it will be the eastern most footbridge.  This will eliminate the narrow walkway we were forced to use in 2013.   We will use the direct route between Ocean Grove and Asbury Park this year heading northbound and that will allow access to the Asbury Park boardwalk (either the entire length or a portion of it (as discussed above).

We are very fortunate to have eight very supportive communities which host our courses!  It is not possible to describe fully the tremendous support each of them has provided in moving forward during these repairs!  We are very grateful to them for caring about these events!

We will publish a preliminary full marathon course map as soon at the certifiers have completed a “preliminary certification”, hopefully in March, and we will publish the final course map as soon as the final, “Official Certification” has occurred.

Our 5K course has been sent to the USATF for certification. It will start and end at the finish line of or Sunday races, on the Oceanfront Promenade in Long Branch.  It will head south through Pier Village with a turn-around in the southern part of Ocean Ave before returning through Pier Village to the finish line.

2. Fluid/Aid Stations:

Fluids: We will be providing Gatorade-Endurance Formula (lemon-lime flavor) and water at each of our Fluid Stations, with Gatorade served first and water served second at each station. Most Fluid Stations will be less than 1.5 miles apart and will be staffed by many service organizations and charity volunteers. The first three fluid stations will be configured on both sides of the road, so there is no need to cross to the opposite side for fluids.  These dual sided fluid stations are staggered so that the middle of the course is not blocked by participants trying to take in hydration.  There will also be trash bins near each fluid station for your use.  Please use them for Energy Gel tops and packs, banana/orange peels, cups, general garbage, etc.  We appreciate your efforts in keeping our neighborhoods and course as clean as possible during the races by using the trash bins.

Energy Gels: GU energy gels (vanilla bean and jet blackberry are expected) will be at multiple locations between miles 13 and 22. Please be prepared to carry your own favorite gel packs (the ones that you have been training with) if GU is not the brand which you’ve been using. You are of course welcome to the GU in any case, but you may be jeopardizing your race if you use anything which you haven’t tested during your training. We will have over 7,000 GU energy gels on the course to service our Full Marathon participants.

Bananas: Will be located on the marathon course between miles 13 and 22, a good source of potassium.

Toilets: We will provide portable toilets at the Start & Finish areas, as well as along the course. On the course they will be located at, or very near, each Fluid/Aid Station. If you do not see them, just ask a fluid station volunteer to point them out to you.  Please do not relieve yourself on private or public property! Local Police will be called if anyone is observed doing so.  This is behavior reflects badly on us all and on our sport.

Clocks & Mile Markers: We will have timing clocks throughout the courses, large mile markers at every mile and B-Tag timing mats at the Start, Finish and at multiple locations on the courses.  Please note: Between miles 6 and 11 there will be two clocks at each mile marker.  One for the half marathon/half relay and one for the full marathon.  These clocks are there as the fastest full marathoners will overtake some half marathoner and half relay athletes in these miles.  Please listen for instructions from the course marshals to make room for the faster marathoners.

On Course Safety: I know many of you train with music and headphones. The organizing committee strongly recommends that you leave your headphones at home for safety reasons. You need to be aware of your surroundings, your fellow runners (who may be passing) and the possibility of emergency and race vehicles and even errant traffic on the course (we work hard to ensure that traffic will not get onto the race courses but it only takes one careless, determine motorist to cause a potentially dangerous situation).

Medical: In the event of an on-course illness or injury there will be 15+ EMS locations along the course with mobile medical transport facilities between them and local area hospitals will be on standby.  In addition, there will be a major medical complex at the finish line as well as local emergency rooms fully staffed and managed near the race courses.  EMTs will always be nearby during your race to assist with any question/issue you may have.  It is required that each participant complete the medical information on the back of their race bibs.

3.     Safety Warning System:

A Safety Warning System will be used to communicate race status to all participants, volunteers and race staff with respect to weather and safety conditions.

It will be a simple color coded warning system.

 NORMAL  – Everything is Normal.

 CAUTION  – Heat index is at a Caution point and athlete should slow down and hydrate properly.

 DANGER  –    Either Dangerous weather exists and athletes should slow down further and monitor their hydration even more carefully, or lightning and/or tornado(s), etc. are reported in the area and ALL ATHLETES should take cover at the closest shelter until the course is reopened.  Be sure to heed the directions of the race staff.  The race may resume when/if appropriate.

CANCELED  – Race has been Canceled due to extreme weather or an on course emergency has occurred and all participants need to leave the course/seek shelter immediately.  The regular shuttle buses will be re-targeted to help evacuate athletes to shelters.

We hope to have  NORMAL  status over the entire length of our races, however, should the need arise we are dedicated to communicating race status and safety warnings to each of you in a timely, effective manner.

The Safety Warning System will be located near each fluid/aid station, so please keep an eye out for it.  Fluid station personnel will be reminding you of the current race condition (warning system colors) whenever a non- NORMAL condition exists, and they may be directing you to the nearest shelter for your own safety. Dangerous conditions are very unusual during our races, but please remember to look for the current Warning System color and listen to staff instructions as you approach each fluid/aid station.

4.     On-Course Entertainment:

As in previous years, there will be bands,  DJs, cheer zones, etc. at various places along the courses, for the enjoyment of the athletes, spectators and volunteers. Please note that we are restricted by noise ordinances in several locations.

Please note: We will publish course maps with fluids/GU/banana, etc. locations, turn-by-turn directions and a list of the entertainers and their locations as soon as we have finalized those details.

I hope that this information will help in your on-course race planning. Please let us know if you have other questions about what to expect on any of our courses.

Next week’s topic: The Finish Line and Finish Line Festival Area.

Best wishes during your training and on race day!


Joe Gigas
Executive Race Director
Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon

18 thoughts on “2014 Race Director Update #5

    • If the hydration pack ONLY holds a hydration bladder that’s fine. If on the other hand it has pockets to hold other things it’s not allowed. BTW – If you have an acceptable hydration only bladder you may be required to take a drink of the liquid before you’re allowed into the start area.

      Our Race Director is meeting with the security forces again this Thursday. If anything changes we’ll post it on Facebook and Twitter, and on the “Security Info” page on our website.

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