ATLANTIC CITY — The city’s fall marathon is considered the third-oldest marathon in the country.
But the lesser-known April Fool’s Race sister series, which gets underway Saturday on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, is the more popular of the pair.
Any runner worth the salty sweat in their shoes will be able to rattle off their personal bests in the 5K, the 10K or half and full marathons. They are the measuring sticks runners use to compare themselves.
But not many runners can say how fast they can run a 7K (4.35 miles) or an 11K (6.83 miles).
Those two distances will kick off the race series Saturday, followed by a 13.1-mile half marathon Sunday.
More than 2,000 had signed up to run by Thursday. Runners could sign up until Friday.
First-time racer LoriAnn Adams, 32, will run the 7K with her husband, Zach, 36, and their 2-year-old daughter.
Adams, of Mays Landing, has finished short-distance triathlons, but this will be her longest road race. She’s also 6 months pregnant.
“It’ll be fun,” she said. “I just want to prove that I can do it. I want to set a good example for our daughter.”
Zach will follow up the next day by going for a personal best in the half-marathon.
“It’s a pretty cool opportunity. It’s great to do it as a family,” he said.
Last year’s rainy, windy race weekend brought more than 800 runners to the 7K and 11K races Saturday. There were 1,268 runners in Sunday’s half marathon.
This year’s weather might be a bit better, according to early forecasts.
But emphasis still will be on making sure runners have a good time, race Director Genia Bittner said. After the races, runners will be treated to an after-party at the LandShark Bar and Grill.
“I think it’s a great kickoff event to the spring season in Atlantic City,” she said.
The race series is becoming increasingly popular with women, especially the half marathon, Bittner said. Nearly 65 percent of the runners in all three races are women.
“We see a lot of women who like to make it a group weekend,” she said.
Runners such as Zach Adams, who run either the 7k or 11k and then the half-marathon Sunday, will complete the “fool” or “jester.”
Another runner going for the jester moniker is Marc Gustafson, of Gloucester Township. His first race several years ago was at the April Fool’s race series. Six months later he ran the Atlantic City marathon.
Since then, he has made a practice of doubling, running a short race Saturday, followed by a half or full marathon Sunday.
“It’s fun. You have to really make it fun,” he said. “It’s about challenging yourself.”