Running helps me better familiarize myself with my surroundings. Whether it’s one of the five NYC boroughs or somewhere I’m visiting, being able to run through a neighborhood allows for me to make a deeper connection with where I am.
Running allows you ‘stop and smell the roses’ without actually stopping.
On September 16th, the Newport, Jersey City Newport Half Marathon provided me with the opportunity to experience parts of a neighboring town that I hadn’t previously ventured to see.
As a Hobokenite, I don’t often jog too far past the waterfront. The Newport Half course took me far beyond my typical running routes and into parts of the town I’d never explored before. The run through Liberty State Park was breathtaking and the views of the Statue of Liberty were nothing short of postcard worthy.
On the beautiful (albeit slightly too warm) Sunday, over 3,000 athletes with varying athletic abilities took to the Newport course for a challenging 13.1 mile experience alongside me. I loved the comradery of the fellow participants and helpfulness/cheers from the local volunteers.
To quote Robin Arzon, one of my inspirations, “Endorphins are one hell of a drug.” That drug carried me through to the finish line of the Newport Half race and also kept me thinking after how the race came to be and what was next for the organizers.
We reached out to the Newport Half team and spoke with Valerie Reaper to answer some of our questions about the local race.
GJC: How has the race evolved over the past few years?
NH: The Newport community has become more and more involved as the race developed over the last 25 years. Local businesses have really committed (particularly in the last 5 years) to being a part of the race, whether that means promoting it, offering race day specials, donating food and beverage to the post-race party, or becoming an official sponsor as was the case with 2018 year’s title sponsor, Ruth’s Chris. The race has dramatically grown in scope and service as well. The Half Marathon in its early years would see roughly 1,000 runners. This year we had over 3,000 registered runners, which was incredible. We are continually finding ways to improve, whether it’s the water station placements on the course or the chips installed in the bibs to provide more accurate timing. The purpose of the race has remained the same - to raise money to support the local hospital and trauma center, Jersey City Medical Center - RWJ Barnabas Health.
GJC: What makes the Newport Half different from other races?
NH: It’s hard to find a more beautiful or refreshing course. The balance of suburban streets and scenic running paths is very unique, but the addition of the beautiful waterfront views, Lady Liberty in the background, and the incredible Manhattan skyline are unbeatable. The changing topography between park and downtown keeps runners engaged and focused and the cool breeze coming off the water is an absolute gift in the last several miles.
GJC: What Jersey City (and surrounding) businesses helped support the Newport Half?
NH: Our sponsors this year were really incredible. Ruth’s Chris Steak House
(recently opened in Newport) donated so much time and energy to elevate this year’s race. They provided additional $100 gift certificates to the category winners at the awards ceremony. Cosi donated post-race food, Bai donated their beverages, and Dole donated fruit cups. We had so many sponsors contribute by building up the race, and supporting the runners to make sure they had a healthy and safe Half Marathon. Newport Swim & Fitness led stretches and group warm-ups before the race, and NJ.com did a great job getting the word out! In addition, we have an incredible group of local and regional bloggers who shared training tips, recipes, and raffled off free registrations.
GJC: What's next for the Newport Half?
NH: We are already in the planning stages for next year! Stay tuned at NewportHalfMarathon.com or visit Newport10K.com in the coming weeks for updates on our 10K in May.
What types of physical activities are you looking forward to this Fall? Any bucket-list races coming up? Some type of activity you wish the city but doesn’t? Let us know in the comments!