My Profile

@brianrocknj

West Orange, NJ Raving since 2020 Running with Rock Active 2 months ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):
  • Rave race:
  • Race that's calling my name:
  • I run because:

    I love the feeling of accomplishment and achievement I get when running.

    I’ve run on and off my entire life, but I’ve never been consistent. In March 2020, I started running with the specific goal of losing some weight.

    Once I lost the weight, I kept running and I got more serious. Now, I’m focused on getting better and faster, and I’m looking forward to racing starting up in 2021.

    My goal is to run my first marathon in the fall of 2021, as long as there’s a live in-person race near me.

My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Personal Bests (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Jersey City, NJ Apr 14, 2024 3:08:32
Half Marathon Brooklyn, NY May 18, 2024 1:27:54

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (8)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Brooklyn, NY May 18, 2024 1:27:54
Marathon Jersey City, NJ Apr 14, 2024 3:08:32
Marathon Erie, PA Sep 10, 2023 3:09:47
Marathon Jersey City, NJ Apr 23, 2023 3:26:36
Marathon Philadelphia, PA Nov 20, 2022 3:20:30
Half Marathon Highlands, NJ Oct 2, 2022 1:33:14
Half Marathon Rehoboth Beach, DE Apr 24, 2022 1:32:58
Marathon Atlantic City, NJ Oct 17, 2021 3:35:00

My Raves

This is a huge event, but it's really well organized. You wouldn't think it was one of the largest in the world. As long as you show up early, the … MORE

This is a huge event, but it’s really well organized. You wouldn’t think it was one of the largest in the world.

As long as you show up early, the logistics of getting in are great. I got to the security line shortly after 6, and I only waited a minute or two to get in. I was able to use the bathroom and get in my corral without an issue.

You will have problems, though, if you show up last minute.

The course is difficult, but if you approach it the right way you can absolutely run a great time. The hills in Prospect Park are tough, but they aren’t so steep that they’ll kill you. Just take it easy, and you can cruise down Ocean Parkway towards Coney Island.

The vibe is amazing. Everyone is so happy and supportive. Lots of crowds and cheering spectators. Friendly volunteers. If you don’t have a good time here, it’s your own fault.

The pre-race party and expo were great. Of all the races I’ve run, I’ve had the most fun at this expo. Definitely take advantage of the entertainment and plan to hang out for a bit.

Be aware that the weather in mid-May can be rough. There’s no way around it, and you know what you’re signing up for. So hope for the best, and manage your expectations if it turns out warm on race day.

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My Report
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The Erie Marathon is exactly what it is advertised as. I found it when I was looking for an early fall race to try and have a last chance at … MORE

The Erie Marathon is exactly what it is advertised as. I found it when I was looking for an early fall race to try and have a last chance at a BQ for next year. Many runners find themselves in that situation, and Erie is one of the larger marathons organized for that purpose.

The course is fast and flat. It loops through Presque Isle State Park twice, and there’s virtually no elevation change. There’s a good deal of shade and some picturesque views. The only downside of the course is that there aren’t many spectators through the middle of the course.

Packet pick up and the race start were smooth. There are water stations every mile, well stocked with friendly volunteers. There were several course photographers, and they posted official results as people finished. They also take all the precautions (like timing mats and a video for evidence) to make sure times are legitimate and approved by BAA for BQ purposes.

One downside to the race set up is that you can’t park in the park on race day. You park outside the park and then walk a little over half a mile to the start. This is fine in the beginning, but it’s not great after you’re done.

Be wary of the weather, too. Early September is often nice on the lake, but there’s always the chance of a warm, humid day. It was warm and humid the day I ran, and it took its toll on a lot of people.

This is a low budget affair, with a low cost but great production value. The volunteers were awesome, and they make this race a great experience. If you’re looking for an early fall race – especially if you’re trying to get a last chance BQ – the Erie Marathon is a great choice.

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I ran the Jersey City Marathon in April 2023 - it's first time. It wasn't perfect, but the race has a lot of potential. The course is two loops - … MORE

I ran the Jersey City Marathon in April 2023 – it’s first time. It wasn’t perfect, but the race has a lot of potential.

The course is two loops – although it doesn’t follow the same exact loop each time. But it starts in downtown, goes through Liberty State park, and then meanders through the neighborhood before ending in downtown. The views from the park are great, as well as the view coming back into downtown.

The crowds downtown were great, but the portion of the race in the park was a little quiet. This is probably due to the road closures, making it hard for spectators to get down to the park. Just be prepared for a quiet stretch.

The course is pretty flat, although there are a few small hills coming in and out of the park.

The start was well organized, with multiple corrals and plenty of porta potties. Things started on time.

One major downside to the race was the parking situation. Everyone had to park in the parking garage at the Newport Mall, and it was gridlock getting in. I almost missed the race, and I heard some people were late because of it. Definitely take mass transit or stay at a hotel if you can.

The other issue with this year’s race was that the chute at the end routed you away from the post-race party. The organizers claim this was the city’s doing, but there wasn’t any signage to make it clear which way to go. Almost no one made it to the party because of that. Hopefully they can fix that for next year.

Other than that, the race has great potential. There was a large, fast crowd with friendly pacers.

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Philly is an amazing big city race, but the logistics run smoothly and it doesn't have the hang-ups that the larger majors do. The course meanders through downtown and historic … MORE

Philly is an amazing big city race, but the logistics run smoothly and it doesn’t have the hang-ups that the larger majors do.

The course meanders through downtown and historic Philly before taking a trip out and back along the Schuylkill River. It’s exciting and scenic. There are a few hills in the middle of the race, but nothing terrible. The miles out along the Schuylkill River are tough, but it feels great when you turn around to head towards the finish.

The energy along the course is amazing. There are large crowds throughout the first half downtown. The crowds thin out a bit in the middle through the park, but it’s never completely dead. People play music along the course, and you’re bound to hear “Eye of the Tiger” a few times. When you pull into Manayunk at the turn around, it’s packed shoulder to shoulder. You can even stop for beer and pretzels if you like. The last mile or two along Kelly Drive is crowded with supporters as you finish.

There were plenty of aid stations, and they were well stocked and well manned. It was extremely windy the day I ran, and a few tables did blow over. But the volunteers managed to get things together. There are large banks of porta potties at the aid stations, as well.

The logistics getting in weren’t too bad. It’s a big event, so there is tight security. There were pretty long lines at the main entrances on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, but if you go around to the left or right you can find much shorter security lines. I left my hotel downtown, around a mile away, at 6am and got to the start with plenty of time to spare. The gear check looked like a madhouse, but the lines moved quickly. You should try and use a bathroom before you go through security, though, because the lines at the porta potties after security were very long.

The start was quick and efficient. You’re assigned to a corral based on your estimated finish time, but they only wait a couple minutes between corrals. So everyone starts shortly after 7am – it’s not like Boston or New York where it takes all day for the waves to be released.

The post-race festivities were nice. As soon as you cross the finish line, they have hot broth waiting for you. It’s amazing. They had some other vendors in the area giving away other food and drinks. Your family will have to go through security to meet you, but they can get to the secure area at the end. I would have stayed longer, but it was freezing.

The weather is a wildcard for this race. It’s November, so it shouldn’t be too hot. But you never know if it’ll be a nice 40’s fall day, or a frigid winter morning. The day I ran, it was ~30 degrees with heavy winds. I loved the race, and I’ll take cold over heat any day, but it put a damper on the post-race festivities.

All told, it is an amazing race. I would highly recommend it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up back here again in the future.

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The Jersey Shore marathon is a great local race for New Jersey runners. It's a moderate size, and it's got a fast and flat course. The production value isn't high, … MORE

The Jersey Shore marathon is a great local race for New Jersey runners. It’s a moderate size, and it’s got a fast and flat course. The production value isn’t high, and it has the flavor of a small local race. Perfect for locals, but not great for a destination race.

The course is a double loop at Sandy Hook – a beach on the coast of central New Jersey. The course is on the road that goes up and down the beach, so you don’t actually see the ocean or the water that much. The turn around point is at an old army fort, which is pretty cool. It’s pancake flat, so it’s great for running a good time.

The race starts with little fanfare, but the local running club does have a bugler that adds a little pizazz. Usually, local college kids man the aid stations and add some energy along the course. It’s a lot of fun, just don’t expect amazing awards or a party afterwards.

The race is relatively cheap for a half, if you register early. Early October is usually a good time, weather wise. It’s a great place to notch a PR or check in on your fitness while you train for a late fall marathon (like Philly or NYC).

I also appreciate that the race is at 9:00am. You can’t stay within walking distance of the race, so you’re going to end up driving from somewhere. I drove from home (around 45 minutes), and the late start time was really convenient.

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I ran the half marathon at the 2022 Coastal Delaware Running Festival. The festival also included a 5k (on Saturday), and a marathon and 9k that went off Sunday morning … MORE

I ran the half marathon at the 2022 Coastal Delaware Running Festival. The festival also included a 5k (on Saturday), and a marathon and 9k that went off Sunday morning before the half.

The race starts on the boardwalk in Rehobeth Beach. It’s a cute little shore town, and it’s a great place for a getaway.

The boardwalk itself is fairly short, and the route quickly leaves the boardwalk for a short loop through the neighborhood. The first two miles or so isn’t particularly beautiful, but they are nice tree-lined streets offering shade.

The middle chunk of the race (around miles 4 to 11) are run through Cape Henlopen State Park. Here, it’s a packed dirt road. The route goes through the forest for a bit, along the pond, and back. It’s beautiful, scenic, and serene.

The course is very flat, with a few gentle slopes along the way.

There are nice crowds along the boardwalk at the start and the finish, but crowd support gets kind of thin after that. The full marathon and 9k start earlier than the half, so for the first three miles or so we ran by the slower participants in those races. But once the routes diverged around mile 4, it was much quieter.

Aid stations were plentiful, with water and gatorade. Gu was available at mile 8. After the race, we got our medal, a hat, water, and a banana. At check in, I also got a shirt (not a tech shirt, but it is a comfortable cotton tee shirt) and a branded beer glass.

The race started on time – going off at exactly 7:40. The marathon started at 7:00, and the 9k started at 7:20. This helped spread people out on the course, as opposed to some races that start the marathon and half together.

The half marathon field was also loosely divided into three corrals. The first corral was designated for those running faster than 8:00/mi. It was based on the honor system, but people respected the rope and stayed behind it if they didn’t think they belonged in the corral. As a result, a much smaller group of 3-4 dozen of us took off at 7:40 – and the other corrals followed at 7:41 and 7:42.

The post race atmosphere was great. By the time we finished, the 9k finishers had all come in. We started to stream in, followed a little while later by the first marathon finishers. There was a good crowd on the boardwalk, and it added a lot of energy to the last phase of the race. I enjoyed sitting on the boardwalk for 20-30 minutes after I finished, watching the other racers come in and cheering them on.

There was also a great post-race celebration. Runners got free entry, and friends / family could buy a ticket ahead of time for $30. It was held at Grotto Pizza, a block from the finish, and it lasted from 9 to 3. This gave me time to walk back to the hotel, clean up, check out, and then meander over around 11. As a runner, you get three beer tickets and there’s a decent buffet of salad, pizza, pasta, and chicken. Not gourmet food, and not New Jersey pizza… but definitely enjoyable. The TVs inside were live streaming the finish line, and you could continue to hear the announcer.

Overall, it was a great race – a scenic route, well organized, with a lot of energy at the start and finish. It’s a little quiet in the middle of the race, and the minimal amount of crowd support out in the park is the only potential downside (if that’s important to you).

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The Atlantic City Marathon is a well organized, medium sized race on a fast course. The course is mostly flat, although there are a couple minor hills when you run … MORE

The Atlantic City Marathon is a well organized, medium sized race on a fast course.

The course is mostly flat, although there are a couple minor hills when you run along the closed down highway. Most of the course goes along the boardwalk.

The volunteers were great, and there were plenty of aid stations. They were well stocked with water and gatorade, and multiple aid stations offered gels. The athletes guide made it clear what to expect, and race day didn’t disappoint.

One of the only things that bugged me a little was the start. There was one corral that was packed, and all of the pacers were at the front. As a result, a whole lot of people who weren’t going to run fast times were trying to push towards the front. I spent the first few minutes weaving through people, but the crowd thinned out after a half mile or so.

There are plenty of hotels to choose from that are convenient to the race start. No need to drive the morning of the race, and you can roll out of bed and be at the start line in minutes. The finish line is in the same area, so you don’t have to worry about traveling after the race either.

The course is made up of two out and back legs. The first goes out to the marina and back, and the second goes out to the end of the Boardwalk and back. It works in a few minor loops, so you’re not coming back the same exact way that you went out. But the advantage to this is that a spectator can hang out near the start and finish area and see you three times throughout the race – once when it starts, once at around 10 miles, and once when you finish.

Much of the race is along the boardwalk, so there’s a nice breeze from the ocean. However, October can be an iffy time for weather. It’s hard to say whether it will be beautifully chilly or sunny and warm. You’ll just have to leave it a little bit up to chance.

There was no expo when I ran due to Covid. Check in was simple, but there was a long line on Saturday night. I would get there earlier if you can, and pick up your stuff Friday night or Saturday morning. The swag included a long sleeve quarter zip and a finisher medal, and there was decent selection of snacks and drinks after the race. You also got a free drink at the bar – and I didn’t let that go to waste.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Atlantic City Marathon. It was my first full marathon, and it didn’t disappoint. I would definitely recommend it.

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