The New Jersey Marathon has been taking place every April since 1997. In addition to a classical marathon race of 26.2 mi (42 km), it also includes many kids races, 5K, half marathon, and four-person Marathon Relay. Marathon weekend starts with the Diadora Race Expo and ends with the post-race festival on the beach with lots of beer and entertainment for all runners aged 21+. Many people run in costumes. Some legendary characters appear every year, like “Larry the Lighthouse”—a runner with a cardboard lighthouse on his shoulders.
The New Jersey Marathon has a pretty flat and fast-paced course with picturesque views and sea breeze all the way. The start line is located at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Monmouth Beach, and the finish line is at Ocean Promenade in Long Branch north of Pier Village and across the stage on The Great Lawn, where the 5K and Kids Races begin.
Long Branch is about an hour drive from New York City, so you can opt for a weekend trip to the ocean coast. The course goes through New Jersey shore's best towns—Ocean Grove, Allenhurst, Loch Arbour, Deal, Monmouth Beach, and Long Branch. Runners will see the Wolf Hill Recreation Area and a few neighborhoods in Oceanport and Monmouth Beach with beautiful views of the ocean. The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon and Half Marathon is officially USATF Sanctioned event. This allows runners to qualify for the Boston Marathon the following year.