The annual Trail of Two Cities 5K across the Route 52 causeway was created nearly 20 years ago as a way to symbolically bridge the two shore towns it connects: Ocean City and Somers Point.
Ocean City's Public Relations Director Mark Soifer and Somers Point's former Community Education and Recreation Director Nick Regine organized it.
"Neil Regine and I were looking for an event which both of our cities could participate in and I said, 'Why not have a race?'" said Soifer, 17 years later. "I came up with the name for it, and he liked it and put a lot of work into planning it."
The 17th annual Trail of Two Cities 5K was to take place Saturday, but has been rescheduled for Nov. 17. This year's event will be special because it will take participants across the newly constructed causeway, which was completed in late May, Soifer said.
The new bridge, which was part of a six-year, $500 million project, will completely change the terrain of the race route, making it a little bit tougher, Soifer said. The causeway rises 75 feet at its peak.
"There's a steep incline right at the beginning of the race leaving Ocean City and another at the end of the bridge near Somers Point," he said.
But the goal of the Trail of Two Cities 5K remains the same as it always had been.
"All past records will go out the window, but the purpose of event, to bring the two cities together, is still there," Regine said. "The new bridge is helping us to do an even better job at that."
The new causeway is open to pedestrians and cyclists, with 11-foot-wide shoulders, a 10-foot-wide walkway, a fishing dock and an information center, none of which was part of the old structure.
"Now people can walk or bike from one city to the other whenever they want," he said.
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
What: Annual Trail of Two Cities 5K Run/Walk
When: 8 a.m. Nov. 3
Where: From Ocean City Transportation Center, 10th Street and Haven Avenue, to JFK Park in Somers Point
Cost: Registration is $30. Immediate families of as many as four may register for discounted price of $70. Shirts go to first 300 registrants. Registration forms and complete information are available at:
n Ocean City Community Services Office, Room 214, second floor of City Hall, 609-525-9300
n New York Avenue School, Somers Point, 609-927-2053, ext. 3101.
n See ocnj.us, click on 'events'
Registration forms can be emailed. Call 609-525-9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.