The Special Olympics New Jersey RunAPalooza will be returning again this year on April 26, 2014.
The event is staged jointly with the Jersey Shore Running Club and Special Olympics New Jersey.
The event is comprised of:
All the events will start at 8:30 a.m.
The event started 19 years ago as a fund raiser for Special Olympics. The running club had for several years helped organize the track competitions for the Monmouth and Ocean County Special Olympics and Special Olympics approached the club to do a fund raiser. It started then with a small group of about 25 runners as part of an informal relay from Seaside Heights to Long Branch, N.J. It was dubbed “The Jersey Shore Relay”.
Each year the event gathered more participants and teams were introduced in a spirit of friendly competition.
As it evolved the event grew every year and then a half marathon was added. In 2012 there were over 400 five person teams participating in the Relay. There were over 1200 participants in the half marathon.
The 2013 event was a challenge for organizers as the devastation of Hurricane Sandy essentially wiped out the courses that the races took.
The route from Seaside Heights to Asbury Park lost essentially all the boardwalks and roads were damaged. The relay sadly had to be cancelled.
The Asbury Park Half Marathon had to be re-routed as well. And in place of the Relay the Jersey Shore Five was added to include team completions. The event still drew a total of about 2500 runners coming from all over country and several from as far as Hong Kong.
Last year’s event was also an emotional one coming just a week after the Boston Marathon bombing. There was heightened security and many runners wore blue and yellow which are the Boston Marathon colors in support. Many local runners who had run Boston were also in attendance to show support.
For 2014 the Relay Marathon is back. There is still devastation and repair ongoing along the route so it will be modified this year. The start will be in Point Pleasant Beach. It will include two out and back legs going south into Bay Head and then it will continue on toward Asbury Park as in the past. It will pass through Brielle, Manasquan, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Belmar, Avon, Bradley Beach, Ocean Grove and finish in Asbury Park mostly on the local boardwalks.
The relay is open to teams of 5,4,3,2 or individuals can run the entire 26.2 miles on their own.
The half marathon course has also been modified again to avoid ongoing construction. It will again start and finish in Asbury park and go through the shore towns of Loch Arbour, Allenhurst, Deal, Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach.
The five kilometer course will start and finish in Asbury Park and run through Loch Arbour as well.
All the races will finish on the Asbury Park Boardwalk in front of Convention Hall
It is always a fun day of running at the Jersey Shore and all for a very worthy cause. The highlight each year is the post run party. The party venue has also grown from the local Elks Lodge, to the Stone Pony and then into Asbury Park Convention Hall. Many runners particularly in the Relay dress in costumes and awards are presented to the best dressed teams. This is the most competitive category.
This year the event will have “Special”: meaning as well. Special Olympics New Jersey will be hosting the National Games in June and athletes from all over the country will be converging on that event. RunAPalooza participants will in a small way help all the New Jersey athletes get to those games and show true “Jersey Pride.”
Information on RunAPalooza can be found on the RunAPalooza web site.
Information on Special Olympics and the National Games can be found on the Special Olympics New jersey web site.