The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon & Half Marathon returns to the Jersey Shore next Sunday, April 26, with a full weekend of activities planned, culminating in the 26.2 and 13.1-mile races on Sunday.
New York Sports Day spoke with Joe Gigas, race director, regarding the race and ancillary events.
NY Sports Day: Last year the course was altered because some areas were still affected by Superstorm Sandy. Is the course the same as last year or has it been restored to pre-Sandy?
Joe Gigas: Super Storm Sandy affected the lives, homes and businesses of people throughout New Jersey. As time passes and we get further from the storm, life gets back to normal – and the same is true for the marathon course. This year, only about 5% of the course is still affected. Parts of the beloved boardwalk sections of the course are still under construction and we’re hopeful they will all be ready for us to race on next year.
NYSD: What are some new facets of this year’s race?
JG: Due to athlete requests, this year we’ve aligned the start-time of the full- and half-marathons to 7:30 a.m.
We have a great group of participants this year including the Mayors of Long Branch and Oceanport, two returning New Jersey Marathon champions, one runner completing their 100th marathon, cancer survivors, families running together, and everyone in between. Over the last few years we’ve seen a strong increasing in the number of female participants. They outnumber the men in the half marathon distance and among all participants registered for our races, women marginally outnumber men.
NYSD: Novo Nordisk has had some time to dig in as your title partner. How has that changed the event?
JG: Novo Nordisk is the perfect partner for us. Their US Headquarters is located right here in New Jersey, and their support allows us to run a smooth, fun race with the best staff and volunteers and top-notch technology.
NYSD: The Health and Fitness Expo has grown every year. What are some of the features you are looking forward to this year?
JG: The 2015 Expo is going to be bigger and better than ever before. We are thrilled to offer not only great vendors and products to help every runner have their best possible race, but also a speaker series with experts offering both runners and the public information about topics including nutrition, hydration and injury prevention.
The Expo has great charity components this year: a food drive for Move for Hunger, which supports local food banks in New Jersey, and a shoe drive organized with the MORE Foundation Group, which sells used shoes to fund technology and training for the poor of Ghana in West Africa.
NYSD: What advice would you have for someone who has never run a marathon distance before, if the Novo Nordisk NJ Marathon is to be their first race?
JG: The most important thing is to train properly, both physically and mentally so you are ready to run – and have fun – on race day. It is always more motivational to train with a team. Life Time Fitness has athletic clubs throughout New Jersey and the surrounding areas that offer training facilities, running groups and coaches that can help with everything from running tips to nutrition to proper footwear.