On Sunday, over 3,000 people lined up outside of Bally’s on the Atlantic City boardwalk to run the 54th Atlantic City Marathon and half marathon.
I was scheduled to run the race, but after a terrible Chicago Marathon, I decided to watch from the sidelines instead and take photos, which you see above.
Since I wasn’t able to run, I asked my boyfriend Robert Hawkey and Va.-based coach Rob McCrone for their impressions of the race.
McCrone liked the crowd support along the racecourse. “I am a big fan of town involvement, and I love seeing local high schools out there cheering, being out there on a Sunday morning probably wasn’t what they wanted to do,” said McCrone. “Same thing goes for the police, volunteers and casino employees who were out there helping! I love it when a town gets involved. It gives the race a better atmosphere.”
However, not everyone was so mindful of the runners. Both McCrone and Hawkey thought the crowds were too much on the boardwalk portion of the race, even dangerous. “The boardwalk was a mess. Pedestrians were everywhere, especially at the end of the marathon” said Hawkey. “Take a bunch of people that have run 24 miles, and let people mill around on the boardwalk, not paying attention to the runners. I constantly had to dodge walkers, and it was painful.”
The race could use more volunteers around that 24 mile mark. I started doing crowd control myself after one of the top 10 runners was almost run over by a bike.
There’s also a built in organizational issue with having the half marathon start and finish in the same spot as the marathon. McCrone and Hawkey reported there wasn’t enough separation between the half marathoners turning back to finish the second half of their race, and marathoner’s still running out. They also would have liked more room on the roads in the race portion that was not off the boardwalk. Limiting racers in some parts to a bike lane just wasn’t enough.
One thing they both liked: the post-race swag. Goodies included Rita’s water ice, Johnsons’ Popcorn and beer. “The medal…this thing is awesome,” said McCrone. It even lights up – the top of the lighthouse blinks.
Did you run either race? Leave your thoughts in the comments.