Overall Rating
Overall Rating (13 Reviews)
3.3
(13 Ratings)  (13 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.1
SCENERY
3.2
PRODUCTION
3.8
SWAG
4.2
Established in 1958, the Atlantic City Marathon is the third oldest continuing marathon in the United States. The marathon course is noted for being fast and flat, including eight miles of oceanfront Boardwalk running! Each race weekend, Atlantic City hosts four race distances including the 26.2 mile marathon and 13.1 … MORE
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Recent reviews

    brianrocknj FIRST-TIMER '21

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    emilydlcgw FIRST-TIMER '21

    This was a great pick for my 50 states list. The race hub was at Bally’s, which is where I stayed and loved this convenience. I could see the start/finish … MORE

    This was a great pick for my 50 states list. The race hub was at Bally’s, which is where I stayed and loved this convenience. I could see the start/finish from my room and simply walk to/from both and packet pick up without worrying about parking. Lots to look at while running – Boardwalk hotels/casinos/mansions/shops/Ferris wheel/tourists/and of course the bay, marina and the beach. We left the Boardwalk to run around the Borgata and hit some highway, tunnel and bridges where there were some inclines and street smells. You do run by the finish around mile 9 which is discouraging since you keep going and don’t turn around to head back to Bally’s for what seems like forever. I agree that the Boardwalk running is different in your feet, and you have to pay attention. Plenty of food at the finish. Great medal, so so technical long sleeve, and finisher towel (although I read some people didn’t get one). Was hoping for more merch at packet pick up but there were slim pickings even though I was there during the first hour. When I left, the line was ridiculous. I did like how their shirts featured all runners names from all 4 races, just wish I could have bought that style in a technical tank or other option. If I could plan it again I’d make time to shop off the Boardwalk and make dinner reservations and time to hit the Borgata. The location of the race is in the older, less updated part of AC so keep your expectations low. FYI there’s no wait at the bar at Rainforest Cafe which you can walk to from Bally’s, and their food is always great!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    mrhughesnj FIRST-TIMER '21

    1. There aren't many marathons in NJ. The options are primarily this race and the NJ Marathon. I entered AC after NJ was canceled this year again because of COVID. … MORE

    1. There aren’t many marathons in NJ. The options are primarily this race and the NJ Marathon. I entered AC after NJ was canceled this year again because of COVID.
    2. The sub-laminated Quarter Zip was really good and comfortable. I wore it for my 2+ hour drive home and it felt fantastic. The medal, which features a replica of the iconic Atlantic City lighthouse, was cool because it doubled as a bottle opener and blinked to simulate the lighthouse.
    3. The race is predominantly on the boardwalk and if not on the boardwalk, within 3-4 blocks of the boardwalk. It is a super-flat course, but also very windy because of the water.
    4. If you need crowd support, this isn’t your race. Besides the start/finish line, the city was pretty lonely.
    5. Pacers began at the 3:30 finish-time, which was incredibly frustrating. There was a whole pack of Boston-bound runners, but for those 3:10-3:25 finishers like myself, there was nobody and it kind of got depressing when hitting the wall. I could’ve PR’d but with a 3 hour drive home, I was content to run/walk a couple miles at end and call it a fun race.
    6. The race fees were very reasonable, but there weren’t many food options afterward. I got a Banana and Powerade and was told to leave the finish area.
    7. Water stations, however, were aplenty, approximately every 1.5-2 miles on the course, which helped tremendously.
    8. If you need a race to cross NJ off your list, and like to gamble, do this race. Otherwise, go up to Monmouth County and run NJ.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    SlowJuan FIRST-TIMER '21

    If there was ever an appropriate mantra for a marathon, it would be; “….and your shoes get so hot you wish your tired feet were fireproof.“ If you’re planning to … MORE

    If there was ever an appropriate mantra for a marathon, it would be; “….and your shoes get so hot you wish your tired feet were fireproof.“ If you’re planning to run the Atlantic City Marathon, be prepared to burn up the Boardwalk in all its iconic glory as you go the distance! Not only will you run the entire length of the Boardwalk from Mile 8 to Mile 13, but the final three miles are a back-to-the-boards stretch with the Bally’s Casino Finish Line as a shining, beckoning beacon in the distance.
    The Race Staff does an exemplary job of defining the race course and keeping runners safe from vacationing motorists. Never have I seen as many traffic cones deployed on a race! On several of the long, flat, straight-a-ways, the orange cones actually recede to a vanishing point on the horizon. Pretty sure we were seeing the curvature of the Earth…..
    I would recommend that you not miss seeing “Lucy the Elephant” at Mile 14 (and again at M-21.5), ….. but it’s darn near impossible to miss Lucy; a 6-story, novelty “house” that has been an Atlantic City tourist icon for over a century. It’s definitely an impressive and colorful edifice, although the window situated under Lucy’s tail borders on disturbing.
    The aforementioned Finish is “complicated” by the Sunday afternoon tourists that have now populated the Boardwalk and are wandering aimlessly across your path. Imagine a real-life game of “Frogger,” only instead of vehicles, you have to avoid colliding with a wide variety of bikes, dogs, strollers, vendors, rickshaws, trolleys and large, distracted gawkers. It’s intense!
    Kudos to the Race Staff on the design of the participant jacket and the Finishers’ medal. I’ve never received a medal before that had an actual operating lighthouse on it. Brilliant!
    But, do you want to know the real highlight of finishing a marathon on the Boardwalk?!?
    “….you can almost taste the hot dogs and French fries they sell!”

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    mcallaway FIRST-TIMER '21

    Living in Atlanta, I look for flat races in cooler temps as a reward for a summer of hills, heat, and humidity. Moved on down to Atlantic City after New … MORE

    Living in Atlanta, I look for flat races in cooler temps as a reward for a summer of hills, heat, and humidity. Moved on down to Atlantic City after New Jersey covid-cancelled. This was my first and probably last trip to Atlantic City. Plenty of casinos to stay at, but this seems to be a local (NJ/NY area) race people drive in for.
    After reading reviews and talking to others, I decided to fly into Philly Friday and stayed downtown Friday night. Great city. Caught a ride to Atlantic City Saturday and made it to the expo around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. In 2021, the “expo” was just a bib pick up line. A very long bib pick up line. I don’t know why they’d only have 2 people handing out bibs and a few more handing out race shirts, but the wait was 45 minutes and the line was even longer once I got through. They appeared unprepared. Some people got items in their bags such as beach towels…all I got were flyers.
    Race morning, there are no corrals. Just a huge mass of people crowding the start. The 3:30, 3:40, 3:45, 3:50, 3:55 pacers could have all reached out and touched each other at the start. There’s no reason to not spread out a little. This was frustrating. Especially after it was advertised that people would be forced to be somewhat socially distanced, and that masks were expected/required. I saw maybe 2 other people out of 2,000 in a mask, and we were all squeezed in like sardines at the start.
    Once the running began, things improved considerably. The course is very fair. It it not completely flat, as there are a handful of freeway ups and downs in the first 7-8 miles. Nothing too challenging, but only the final 18 miles are completely flat. The aid stations were well stocked with water and Gatorade. I carry my own gels but I saw a few tables along the way providing fuel too. The volunteers at the aid stations did a great job as cheering sections as well, because there wasn’t a lot of natural crowd support.
    Unfortunately in 2021 the weather didn’t work out for me. It became sneaky warm throughout the morning. Along the final 8 miles, I saw several runners down with EMTs presumably due to heat. But the wind was a deal breaker. It was exhausting virtually the entire way, no matter the direction we ran. It was so bad it literally blew me off the road a few times.
    A note on the boardwalk. There is a lot of boardwalk running. It’s unusual if you’re not used to it, and likely takes some mental energy to navigate. Boards are uneven, bouncy, bolts stick up, it’s uneven in places…just another challenge.
    The 3:40 pace team was relatively large (~25) and stuck together rather well through 18 miles, but that’s when my body failed. I mailed it in the final 8 miles and managed to finish in just under 4 hours. But looking at finish times and race photos, just a few runners in from that 3:40 group met their goal. Most ran 3:50-4:05.
    The finish experience was disappointing. Even though I came in under 4 hours, there were no fluids left other than water. Powerade had already run out. I don’t understand how that happens. Thankfully, my hotel room was a few steps away from the finish and I had cold drinks and snacks waiting for me there. The Johnny Rockets milkshake from the boardwalk hit the spot later that afternoon.
    Swag: The medal is neat as the lighthouse light flashes via a battery in the back of it. The pullover is ok. It’s not the nicest material and has a weird fit. The large fit me like a large on the body and shoulders, but the long sleeves are close to 3/4 length…oh well!
    It was a disappointing result for me, but I do know a number of runners PRd/BQd, and I just had a bad day. I’m disappointed I didn’t get to run the NJM. Also disappointed the NJM folks were nowhere to be seen at this race, as they had said they would be there with swag for us transferred runners.
    If you like to gamble, give this race a shot. The Bally’s sportsbook was a fun place to spend Saturday resting before the race and Sunday resting afterward. But the casinos, especially Caesers where I stayed, were kind of sad, kind of old and run down, and full of old people pumping the nickel slots…just not for me.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    runningriddles FIRST-TIMER '19

    Atlantic City was personally not my favorite place to visit (my sole opinion), but the marathon itself was a good one to run and cross New Jersey off the state … MORE

    Atlantic City was personally not my favorite place to visit (my sole opinion), but the marathon itself was a good one to run and cross New Jersey off the state list.

    Several reviews online stated the course is “pancake” flat. This is not the case. Yes, MOST of the course is flat, but there are a few portions towards the beginning that take you up a few highway ramps that are a bit of a challenge. My Garmin noted a total elevation gain of around 200 ft by the race’ end. Not hilly at all, but not completely pancake flat.

    Packet pickup was held at Bally’s Casino’s Grand Ballroom. Parking was easy (there were several lots and garages around…thought the area doesn’t seem that nice to walk in), and I breezed my way through the slot machines and card tables towards the expo area. I am not a fan of gambling, so I immediately got my bib and exited the building. I will say the swag they gave you (a hooded long sleeve shirt) is one of my favorites from any race I have run.

    My only complaint about the race start was that it was position right on the boardwalk in front of a few of the casinos which constantly played loud advertisements from their speakers. Apparently the National Anthem was sung, but the speakers of the casinos were turned up so loud, that many of us not realize it until it was almost over. That made me sad and believe that should be addressed in future editions of the race. Luckily we were able to hear the starting gun and made our way down the boardwalk to begin the first mile of 26.2.

    The experience as a whole was a fun one though. The pacing group was very good and it was fun to run along the boardwalk for 6-7 miles of the race. I’d recommend running it for New Jersey…just stay out of the Atlantic City area other than on race day.

    You can read my whole race report at https://runningriddles.com/races/2019-atlantic-city-marathon-in-new-jersey/.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    mflores711 FIRST-TIMER '18

    A nice, flat course that made it pretty comfortable to run, and a good choice if you're going for a PB. The sweatshirt we got for the race was excellent … MORE

    A nice, flat course that made it pretty comfortable to run, and a good choice if you’re going for a PB. The sweatshirt we got for the race was excellent quality, and the post-race finish festival was awesome with lots of goodies. My only real gripe was that the aid stations could have been a bit better organized, as there were times that I had to forgo a station because the attendants were unprepared.

    DIFFICULTY
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    5

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    gdeivert FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was my first full Marathon so I have nothing to compare it to. I have done 15 halfs this year and those were my refernce point for this race. … MORE

    This was my first full Marathon so I have nothing to compare it to. I have done 15 halfs this year and those were my refernce point for this race.
    The packet pickup was over three days, the last two of which were held at Bally’s on the Boardwalk. Packet pickup was easy and well organized. The expo was small but had some quality vendors and i bought a few things as well as sampled some products.
    On Saturday 10/21/2018 I ran the 5K. There were options when registering to run a 5K or a 10K to earn an extra medal for the King Neptune Challenge. The 5K course was easy and flat and all of it was on the Boardwalk. I took it easy because i was running the full the next day and finished in 28:30.
    Race day the weather had deteriorated and there were winds of 20-30mph. The start was crowded but smooth and we ran out to the AC Expressway and through a tunnel for the first 5 miles or so. There were a few inclines but nothing major. Tracking was done at the 5K , 10K and 19 Mile. My friends told me later they had a hard time with the app which was not updating very quickly.
    At mile 8 we returned to the Boardwalk and ran past the start line and south on the penninsula. There was great traffic control at all intersections, and the course was ,marked very well.
    After leaving the Boarwalk we ran on some major avenues and eventually side streets before completing Mile 22 and heading back to the Boarwalk for the finish.
    All the water stops had water and gatorade. there was plenty of help and several stops handed out GU. The finish was in front of Bally’s so there was some congestion with tourists on the Boardwalk, but I thought it was manageable.
    I had a good experience and will probably do this race again. The medals were well made and the finish line had plenty of food and water as well as a medic tent with massages available.

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    My Media

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    runningriddles Oct 24, 2018 at 8:52am

    Nice recap and thorough review! I just registered for this for 2019 to cross Delaware off my 50 state marathon list.

    Nice recap and thorough review! I just registered for this for 2019 to cross Delaware off my 50 state marathon list.

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    gdeivert Oct 24, 2018 at 8:55am

    Runningriddles- It is in NJ . I hope you need that state too!

    Runningriddles- It is in NJ . I hope you need that state too!

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    dalebassplayer Jan 08, 2019 at 10:03am

    You can get do both in the same weekend, as Monster Mash in Deleware is the day before.

    You can get do both in the same weekend, as Monster Mash in Deleware is the day before.

    runningriddles Oct 24, 2018 at 8:57am

    Oh, DUH! I mis-typed lol. I meant New Jersey. :-)

    Oh, DUH! I mis-typed lol. I meant New Jersey. :-)

    kmusheno FIRST-TIMER '18

    Very flat race: You go up and down two overpasses and one tunnel in the first 5 miles and that's it for elevation. Expo was tiny. Pretty pointless having it. … MORE

    Very flat race: You go up and down two overpasses and one tunnel in the first 5 miles and that’s it for elevation.

    Expo was tiny. Pretty pointless having it.

    Good support: Lots of doubled up aid stations provide sufficient support

    Course can be a bit boring at times. Running down the boardwalk for miles before doing out and backs can be tough on your mind.

    Post-race area was easy to navigate and conveniently located near restaurants. Massages, beer, bagels, soup, gatorade, bananas, water ice, and chocolate were offered.

    One thing that needs to be fixed is the garage parking. Bally’s Casino was not prepared for the rush post-race. We were stuck on the 7th floor of the garage before my friend and I bailed on our ride back to the house we were staying at.

    DIFFICULTY
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    4

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    klucht FIRST-TIMER '17

    Race had some pretty scenic moments, but I am glad I only did the half marathon. Towards the begining of the race you ran on the highway - cloverleafs and … MORE

    Race had some pretty scenic moments, but I am glad I only did the half marathon. Towards the begining of the race you ran on the highway – cloverleafs and all. We had extra fans (annoyed motorists). Then you ran on the boardwalk which was lovely, but felt long. The course takes you past the finish at mile 8 for an out and back and you need to run around tourists.

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 27, 2017 at 2:06pm

    I think the most sadistic thing a race director can do is lead their runners past the finish line prematurely when they still have several miles to run. That can… MORE

    I think the most sadistic thing a race director can do is lead their runners past the finish line prematurely when they still have several miles to run. That can be pretty demoralizing if you're not ready for it. But it sounds like you kept a positive attitude through it all, which is the most important thing and especially on a 50 states quest where anything can happen. Thanks for all your helpful reviews, Kathryn... and speaking of the 50 States, your map is looking great! LESS

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    geddings FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was was my 22nd state completed. The portion of the run off the boardwalk (about 6-7 miles) was a lot of bridges and viaducts, as well as one tunnel. … MORE

    This was was my 22nd state completed. The portion of the run off the boardwalk (about 6-7 miles) was a lot of bridges and viaducts, as well as one tunnel. So don’t go into this race thinking it is flat. The last 5 miles is on the AC boardwalk, you run past the finish line at mile 11 and then come back. It got hot on the boardwalk, and there is not shade. There are walkers on the boardwalk while you are running. Nothing is blocked off just for the runners. Nice medal and good finish line goodies. Town is very nasty and did not feel too safe to walk around.

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    My Report
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    Jenlovestorun FIRST-TIMER '17

    only marathon I ever ran where a guy was getting arrested while we ran by; nice to be at the beach even though AC is not my favorite town; nice … MORE

    only marathon I ever ran where a guy was getting arrested while we ran by; nice to be at the beach even though AC is not my favorite town; nice medal and the running club puts on a nice event every time!

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    ginifurr REPEAT RUNNER '15

    This race has great swag, the food after was awesome, and it was cool running through the AC tunnel- but the boardwalk is a hot mess! I have a low … MORE

    This race has great swag, the food after was awesome, and it was cool running through the AC tunnel- but the boardwalk is a hot mess! I have a low stride and boards are extremely uneven- I caught my foot and fell more than once- and I wasn’t the only one. People were falling left and right. Kind of scary.

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  1. Races
  2. Atlantic City Marathon & Half Marathon