Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ocean Drive Marathon ~ Race Ratings (NJ - #27)

Tagline: "Run for the ocean view, not for the organization."

2010 Ocean Drive Marathon ~ March 28, 2010
Cape May, NJ~ Jersey Shore
Registration Fee: $70-$80 early ($90-$100 late) No Discounts
Runners: 607 Completed, 203 Females
Available Races: Marathon, 10M, and 5K
Average Finish Time: 4:21:21
BQ %: 13%

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 2.7/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 2.7/5.0

~ This is a very low-key marathon with some organizational issues, but if you're looking for something private and small to enjoy your running, then you may like it here. Don't expect a "beach" experience, as it's too cold and most of the area is shut down for winter still. Cape May is a bit pricey to stay in and flying into this race isn't easy with the closest airports both more than an hour away.

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ This race needs a little organization help, especially since there are so few NJ marathons available. Timing chip and correct mileage markers are the first things that need to be addressed! Getting the marathoners there on time would be another place I would concentrate. Find a way to ensure buses will be there when they say (every 15 minutes). Post-race food is important! I don't know when some directors will realize just how important pot-race food is! It helps to refuel and rebuild-- and often we're very deprived of blood-sugar so something with sugar is pretty key. If this race continues to get any bigger, they director needs to make a push to gain more community involvement-- what community is left in the winter months. We pass through many neighborhoods and distinct towns (cape may, wildwood, etc.) so a neighborhood contest would work here.

Event Organization: 3.0/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: 55 from Atlantic City, 67 from Philadelphia Airport
Rental Car Required: Yes!!
~ Getting to this race is a little difficult. Technically the closest airport (Atlantic City) is about 55 miles away, but the flights into Atlantic city are scarce and very expensive. The only real airport to fly into is Philadelphia, which is about an hour and twenty minutes drive. The website is pretty decent-- being a small race there isn't much information necessary-- and they did send out information in the days leading up to the race. The area is mostly closed down, so there isn't much to do during the race weekend and there aren't too many places open for a pasta/carbo load (albeit they did have a pasta party available).

Race Organization: 1.0/5.0
~ As I said in my post-race-thoughts, this is not a very well organized marathon. First, the mile markers were so inconsistent, with mile 2 being around 1.6 miles, then each mile marker from there on tended to be just a little shy of a full mile, making up the distance in the last half mile of the race. On top of that, there were no timing chips. This isn't a HUGE race, but there is definitely a good amount of time to get 600 people across the start line. Pre-race was supposed to have shuttles to bring you to the start of finish, but they also sent the shuttle twice, as apposed to the “every 15 minutes” they claimed on the website. When we got to the race the port-a-johns had huge lines behind them and we barely had time before the race and couldn’t wait. During the race there were plenty of port-a-johns, but they seemed to be grouped close to one another, then there would be very long stretches without them. They did have plenty of water stops with some great volunteers.
~Post Race Food: This was my biggest disappointment. They had bagels, some fruit and water as well as chicken broth. Not a cookie or a beer was to be found anywhere, not even a piece of pizza or a peanut butter for my banana.

Course: 3.0/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating

Garmin Distance: 26.36
~ First thing-- “Bob” (who we learned was the directors name by local runners) lives close to where the race finishes. Well, this course has historically been a race that is run against the wind for 95% of the race. When we asked why they didn’t just turn it around and end in Cape May, the local runners said they often teased Bob about this, but he didn’t want to change it because he lived close to the current finish of the course. I guess he is the race director so its his choice. As for the course itself, it comes off as slightly boring, considering it is run primarily near the beach. Most of the race is run on 1 road over from the ocean and you only get glimpses of the beach. Also, there are a few spots with longgg straight stretches of road in front of you-- very discouraging. It’s mostly flat, but there are a few hills when you go over bridges.

Spectators: 2.0/5.0
~ This is not the race for you, if you’re looking for a lot of cheering spectators. The Jersey Shore is still a ghost town this early in the year. In fact, most of the town is shut down in the “off season,” so there aren’t even that many locals to support the race.

Pace Group: /5.0
~ NA

Runner/Corrals: 4.5/5.0
~ No corrals. I found the runners fun. We waited for the bus with a few familiar faces-- 50 staters and maniacs getting their NJ marathon in, as well as some new faces. First I saw a woman who I always notice because she’s at almost ALL my marathons. I notice her because she’s often deked out in a maniacs top and a leopard running skirt with her long curly hair loose and hanging down her back. Apparently this was her 3rd time finishing the 50 states! We met a girl named Jen who was there for her first race and was hoping to make a BQ. She didn’t make BQ, but she did have a great first marathon time! She ran somewhere around a 3:46! There were some local marathoners we met as well-- 2 men who told us a lot about the race, having both run almost all of the years the race has been open, in between teasing us about, well-- anything they could think of.
Expo: 2.0/5.0
~ This was a small race, with a small expo. Aside, from the registration tables, there was 1 table with some basic running apparel an essentials you may need. For a race with 600 marathoners and 500 10-milers I'm a little surprised there wasn't much more.

Swag:3.2 /5.0
~T-Shirts: We were some of the last people to pick up our race packets and apparently they didn’t have any smalls left-- even though I ordered one Grrr. Oh well. The t-shirt is a long sleeve, red, sweat wick shirt. It’s nice and very thick with a design of the race course on it. Good for cold-weather running. 3.2
~Medals: The medal wasn’t bad… a silver medal with a simple design. Nothing I’d go crazy over. 3.0
~ Goodie Bag: The bag they gave us had a few little give-a-ways, including these “fruit staws” that I really liked. They’re natural and taste like you’re drinking apple-juice. I can’t explain it, but they’re good. +0.1

Time: 3:44:25
Pace: 8:34 min/mile
Place: Overall Teams 133/607~ Gender 20/203~ Division 9/59 (F20-29)


  1. Too bad about the organizational issues... definitely sounds like the race needs some work. No timing chips for a marathon?!

    Congrats on another strong finish!

  2. The woman in the leopard print skirt is Boonsom Hartmann AKA "The Lipstick Lady". She's a Maniac and a 50-Stater. Boonsom is a lot of fun and is always pleasant to be around. In case you were wondering, she is Thai.