The Jersey Shore Running Club’s Thursday Group run started 19 years ago in 1995. The first run was held on August 24, 1995. It was attended by a group of about 6 runners and met at the Fifth Avenue Pavilion on the Belmar Boardwalk at 6 p.m.
The run has been meeting just about every week since that time through hurricanes, blizzards, rain storms, 100 degree heat and just about every imaginable weather condition. It seems the worse the weather the greater the turn out. On days when you would think no one would show up is when the crowd seems to come out for that run.
The run in the winter of 1995 moved to what at the time was McDonald’s on the Belmar Boardwalk for the winter. The group was welcomed there and the place offered clean bathrooms and a place to get out of the weather. It became a tradition to shift the run in the summer months to the Fifth Avenue Pavilion and to McDonald’s in the winter. Then a few years later McDonald’s closed its doors and the meeting place for the winter was lost. The group was literally left standing out in the cold. But a new winter location was found a few blocks south when Dunkin Donuts decided to open a place on 16th Avenue. That became the winter meeting place for many years. But soon that also passed as a few years ago Dunkin Donuts started to close early in the winter and again left the group out in the cold.
The group struggled to find an appropriate meeting location and the Boro of Belmar came to the rescue allowing the club to use the Fifth Avenue Pavilion on Thursday Evenings. The location was so convenient that the run remained at that spot all year round. In the winter there was hot chocolate and refreshments offered inside the pavilion along with bathrooms and place to change and warm up before and after the run.
After Hurricane Sandy destroyed the boardwalks and the meeting place at Taylor Pavilion was destroyed - the group did miss a few weeks due to power outages and dangerous conditions along the shore which had roads closed to everyone – the runners re-grouped and started meeting at Bar Anticipation to continue the tradition in the winter.
In the summer and while the bathrooms remain open the group is meeting on the Belmar Boardwalk between Fifth and Sixth Avenues every Thursday at 6 p.m.
All runners are welcome at the Thursday Run. Groups go from 3 to 8 miles. Depending on the direction of the wind the group can go south into Spring Lake or north toward Asbury Park. It’s a runner friendly course along the boardwalk with a nice flat surface, well lit at night and no worry about cars or traffic. In the summer there are plenty of water fountains and bathrooms open along the way. So if you are looking for a run during the week check it out.
Get more information on the Jersey Shore Running Club and its other group activities and runs on their web site.
And for those who would like to get into an all year running program a beginners group will be starting up soon. Get all the details here. An orientation meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at Miles Ahead Sports on Route 35 in Manasquan/Wall starting with an easy run/walk at 6 p.m. and then the orientation at 6:30 p.m. All prospective beginner runners are welcome.