Thursday, October 4, 2018

Why I'm Running The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon

Who's running the New Jersey Marathon?
Disclaimer: I received free entry to The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Use discount code "NJMBIBRAVE19" to receive $5 off any distance (5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Marathon Relay)!

Before the start getting ready.
So this post isn’t about trail running or ultrarunning. Although those flavors of running are the two that I’m most passionate about, I do the majority of my training on roads. Not because I prefer roads, but simply out of convenience. If I’m pressed for time and want to get some miles in I usually opt to have more time for more miles on roads around my neighborhood rather than to spend the extra time driving to trails to run. But this post is even more focused on road running than that as I am writing to explain why I decided to run my second ever road marathon, the 2019 Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon.

Why would an ultrarunner/trail runner choose to run a road marathon? Well, there are several answers to that question. The first being to seek the answer to an entirely different question, “will I be able to run a marathon faster today than I was able to 10 years ago?”. The last and only official marathon I have run was the 2009 Ocean Drive Marathon. Since I ran that 
At the starting line in Cape May!
marathon they have changed the course to an out and back, but the old course was a point to point starting as far south as you can go in New Jersey, Cape May, and ending in the shore town that I called home at the time, Sea Isle City. Getting dropped off at the start and then running 26 miles to be within a few blocks of home was a really cool first time marathon experience. I really enjoyed it and planned to run more. However, after nearly 10 years now I have yet to run marathon number two. Not because I got away from running, but because I wanted to run farther. Since that first marathon I’ve been focused on ultras and trail running. At the time of the 2019 Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon it will have been a little over 10 years since my first marathon and it seems like an ideal time to test the fitness of 39 year old Scott against the fitness of 29 year old Scott. I will be running the NJ marathon with a singular goal: to finish in under 3:43:02 which is my only official marathon time.

Somewhere midway through crossing a bridge between shore towns.
Finished (superhero pose)!
Happy to be done!
Since it’s been so long since running a road marathon, I’m pretty excited to go through the whole experience again. And that fact that I’m shooting for what will technically be my marathon PR, it makes it even more exciting. What am I excited about that a road marathon offers that I don’t find at trail ultras? Well, mainly crowds. Crowds of runners and spectators cheering for the runners. As much as I love trail ultras, they can become a bit lonesome for some stretches between aid stations. I don’t look at that as a negative; I enjoy running alone swimming in my own random thoughts. But I enjoy some variety and a road marathon will offer that as I’m sure for the vast majority of the 26.2 miles of the NJ Marathon I’ll either be around other runners or making my way down spectator lined streets.

Proud of finishing my longest run to date, little did
 I know that I'd be chasing ultramarathons next.
And for the final answer to the “Why”, because opportunity knocked so I answered. For the last couple years of running ultras I’ve wondered if I could run a faster marathon than I did in 2009. I’ve run plenty of marathon distance training runs, some of which were faster than my 2009 marathon time, but I don’t feel honest calling those PRs as they were not official marathon times on measured courses. So, when after a few months as a BibRave Pro the offer to run the NJ marathon was presented to me, how could I say no? Obviously it was a no brainer to accept and find out what I can do on flat road marathon course so close to home for me.

And we still had some time for fun with friends and family before the course closed!

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