Text messages and phone calls flew rapidly among members of the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) Monday. Any other year, these would have been messages of congratulations for the 40 or so club members running the challenging Boston Marathon course. Instead, the communications took on urgency: are they all safe?
Moira Easton Haron of Spring Lake Heights ran faster than her planned marathon time and finished ahead of the explosions. Krissy Suckow of Wall made it out of Boston and was on her way home. All the JSRC members were indeed fine.
With the club’s largest racing event, RunAPalooza, set to take place in Asbury Park on Saturday, JSRC leaders called for a show of solidarity at the event.
Wear blue and yellow, the Boston Marathon colors, Race Director Bob Both advised runners in an email and on the race site.
“We don't want to let this damper our love of running,” JSRC President Carly DePolo said. “It's a freak thing. We're not going to let it consume us.”
RunAPalooza includes the Asbury Park Half-Marathon and the Jersey Shore 5, a five-mile race for teams or individuals. The event will raise money for Special Olympics New Jersey and shore restoration efforts. The Jersey Shore 5 is a substitute this year for the JSRC’s Jersey Shore Relay Marathon, which usually runs from Seaside Heights to Asbury Park and saw its course devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
“We had the reroute the whole course. It’s been a struggle,” DePolo said. “I’m amazed that we were able to put it together after Sandy.”
Race organizers have been in touch with police departments in Asbury Park, Deal, Allenhurst and Long Branch following the Boston Marathon attack, but security plans aren’t likely to need adjustment, DePolo said. Emergency service personnel and police will be at the start and finish lines and along the route.
“We will be vigilant and do what is prudent but we won't shy away from holding our event which means a lot to many runners who come back every year. We have had no major incidents in the 16 years we have held the race and hope that continues,” Both wrote in his email. “We will run - not run away!”
DePolo said she expects many runners will keep in mind the 4:09:44 mark—the time on the Boston Marathon clock during the first explosion—during Saturday’s race and future races.
“All runners, whatever your pace, you put yourself in those shoes,” she said.
Volunteers for RunAPalooza are still needed. Contact JSRC Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Hay at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to lend your support.