ATLANTIC CITY — At 8 a.m., 1,150 runners took off from the starting point on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the AmeriHealth New Jersey April Fools Half Marathon.
Sunday was the second day of the Atlantic City Marathon Race Series, which saw better weather than the 7K and 11K races the day before.
“It was fantastic running conditions,” said Terry Rasmussen, of Fort Collins, Colorado, who ran the Boardwalk course in 2 hours and 32 minutes and completed her 41st half-marathon.
Rasmussen, 70, also won a first place medal for fastest women’s time in the 70-99 age range.
“I started running in 2010 after my husband died,” she said. “New Jersey is the 37th state I’ve raced in.”
Rasmussen’s goal is to run a race in all 50 states. She said she has run races in Washington, D.C., her home state of Colorado and even in Cancun, but a race on the Boardwalk was a first.
“I’ve never run on a wood surface before, it was so nice,” she said.
Marc Neumann, board president of the Katz Jewish Community Center, said running on the city’s Boardwalk is what draws people to the races.
“If runners search ‘marathon’ and ‘New Jersey’, our races pop up,” said Neumann. “And the Boardwalk is a big draw — it’s soft and springy and you get that great sea breeze.”
Neumann said there were runners from at least every state and some from different countries, including Brazil and the Philippines.
For many, it was a hometown race.
Dan Lacca and Team RWB from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst ran Saturday and in Sunday’s half marathon. Runners with the nonprofit veterans organization carried the American flag across the finish line.
“It gives vets another sense of purpose after the uniform comes off,” said Lacca, who as social director organized the group to run in weekend’s races.
More than 1,000 runners registering for the half marathon meant a strong weekend for Atlantic City hotels.
“Resorts had tons of rooms booked for the weekend. Last night, room rates were up to $400,” Neumann said. “They were sending people to Showboat, which was sold out.”
Neumann said organizers already are looking to the next event, the Atlantic City Marathon and Half Marathon on Oct. 22-23.
“It’s another combined weekend of races, and we’re already expecting 4,000 runners,” said Neumann.