This past weekend I did the Gobbler Express Train Run in Asbury Park, NJ. It’s a fun run where you get on the NJ Transit train in Asbury Park and ride to either Bradley Beach (1 or 2.5 miles), Belmar (4.35 miles), or Spring Lake (6+ miles) to run back to Johnny Mac’s House of Spirits in Asbury Park.
I invited my neighbor and new friend Kate to register for the run a few months back. She was up to try something new and we didn’t have to decide our distance until the day of the race.
When I arrived for check-in there was confusion about which line to be in. A bunch of people went back and forth and I just said go in front of me, we’ll all run the race anyway! Then a nice older man said, “It’s not a race, it’s just a fun run. Enjoy it!” We chatted about his race the day before when it was gorgeous out and how the day of this race it turned super chilly, windy, cloudy, and the like.
I showed up underdressed, which seems to be a reoccurring issue for me in my larger size, as most of my favorite running clothes are still 10lbs away. Despite using a great app, I didn’t listen to the suggestions and wore a bit less than I should have. Once I got there, I questioned whether or not I wanted to actually do the 4.35 run from the Belmar train station, as I’d freeze my behind off. Next time, I think I’ll bring extra clothing and change at the race check-in if I underdress.
Once Kate arrived, we had a quick chat about which distance we’d like to run, and we settled on the 2.5 miles distance to run since we were both freezing and couldn’t imagine being out there for over an hour. We ran a 1:30 / :30 split run walk run.
Next, it was time to head over to the train station, which we surprised all of the regular transit goers waiting for the train.
As we boarded the train, the conductor’s face was priceless. He looked and have to have thought why on earth was the train platform full of people. The photo above was maybe about a quarter of who was there to run.
Our stop was the very next stop, so a large majority of us got off and waited for instructions while waiting for the train to move out of the station. I think a lot of people dropped down to the shorter distance after experiencing the cold wind, as it was a shock from the 65+ degrees and sunny warmth the day before.
Once we made it back to the restaurant, we got our t-shirts, a free drink, and waited to get pizza that was included. I thought it would just be a slice of pizza, so we were super surprised and happy to find it was a personal pan pizza that was included… should’ve run the 4.35 to burn it off ahead of time… but it was very tasty.
Since my training plan for this weekend was to complete a 4.5-mile run, I came home and hopped on the treadmill. I did another mile on the treadmill for 3.5 miles total and then cleaned up and went outside for the last mile for an easy walk. Trying to run after a drink and pizza wasn’t so easy, so I figured getting the mileage complete was most important.
I definitely think I’d like to try this race again and go for a longer distance. It was something different, fun to ride the train, and run a mostly unmarked path back. They had escorts throughout, but it was a pretty easy course to remember where to go; mostly along the boardwalk. It was also nice that it wasn’t a “race” type feel, as everyone was supporting each other, cheering us when we passed them, and you never knew how far any other person had gone already. Just great comraderie all along.
No current races planned on the calendar, but I’m starting to look at a few more for this winter. I need to get my clothing game back in gear with dressing appropriately!