9 charity races in New Jersey in 2013

Posted: February 18, 2013

If you're a charity-minded runner, look to New Jersey for your races this year.

For 2013, nine races in the Garden State have linked together through the Road Runners Club of America New Jersey to form the N.J. Grand Prix Series, a nine-race event with the goal of raising $100,000 for the Jersey Shore Chapter of the American Red Cross to help with Sandy relief.

The first race, the Super Sunday Four Miler in Morristown, was held Feb. 3, but it's not too late to join. Runners need to complete six or more of the nine races to be considered Grand Prix finishers, and to earn an oversize "I Ran to Restore the Jersey Shore" medal.

Runners are scored in participation, performance, fund-raising, and "overall," which is a combination of three other categories. Groups with a minimum of five members can also sign up for team scoring.

Thirty-eight teams have signed up so far, including the South Jersey Atlantic Club based in Haddonfield and the Running Joke Running Club of Mount Laurel.

The idea to hold the grand prix came from the Road Runners Club of America New Jersey. Ginia Chapman-Bittner, race director of the Atlantic City Marathon, said that when she got an e-mail from the organization looking for races to participate, she jumped at the opportunity.

"We did not hesitate," Chapman-Bittner said of the race's committee members.

"Races were chosen based on the distances offered," Chapman-Bittner said. "They also wanted our different events at different times of year."

Organizers also wanted to work with races that were willing to make a donation per runner finishing the races, which is how they hope to raise the $100,000.

Chapman-Bittner said that the dollar amount wasn't finalized and that it will be different for each race, but she expects that figure to be $1 to $5 per runner. Last year, the Atlantic City Marathon had 692 finishers, and Chapman-Bittner expects 1,000 or more this year.

The Atlantic City Marathon is the only marathon in the series, and the Oct. 13 race is one of two closer to the Philadelphia area, the other being the Trenton Half Marathon to be held Nov. 9.

Other races include the Asbury Park Half Marathon (April 20), Ridgewood 10K (May 27), College Avenue Miler in New Brunswick (June 8), Get the Gorilla Cross Country 5K in New Brunswick (Oct. 20), Trick or Trot 5K in Long Branch (Oct. 27), and the Santa Run 4-Miler in Morristown (Dec. 21).

For the Atlantic City Marathon organizers, the cause is personal.

"We have 15 committee members and at least five of them were directly impacted by the storm. Two lost everything and are still not living in their homes," Chapman-Bittner said. "We wanted to be able to contribute. It brings a sense of community to races in New Jersey and allows them to be a part of that rebuilding process."

To sign up as an individual or team, go to raceforum.com/rrca/signup.html. There's a $5 fee to sign up.

Running Schedule

  Sunday: Polar Bear Run/Walk for Autism, 5K and 1.5-mile walk, Sea Isle City, N.J. Active.com or polarbearrunwalkforautism.com.  

    Next Sunday: Browning Ross Winter Series, Glassboro, 5K and 10-miler. Register day of race only. Final race in the winter series. For information, go to: tuffgangrunning.com.

Next Sunday: Four Mile Beach Run, Long Branch, N.J., 4-mile run, 2-mile walk. Register at splitsecondracing.net/lbbr or day of event.

Next Sunday: Chilly Cheeks Trail Run, Reading,

7.2 miles. Register at pretzelcitysports.com or day

of event.  

Looking ahead: March 24, Ocean Drive Marathon, 26.2 miles and 10 miles, Cape May. Register and more information at odmarathon.org.

To add your race, e-mail jquinn@phillynews.com.

Please send at least two weeks in advance.

Follow on Twitter @byJenAMiller.

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