Jeff Mescal has a goal to run a sub-three-hour marathon in every state.
The 52-year-old resident of Hebron, Indiana, crossed New Jersey off the list Sunday. Mescal won the 20th Ocean Drive Marathon in 2 hours, 54 minutes, 34.3 seconds.
“This was my 40th state, so I’ve got 10 more to go,” Mescal said Monday in a phone interview. “My plan is to finish in Hawaii either in January of 2019 or 2020.”
Brooke Drumbore, 50, from Basking Ridge won the women’s division and finished 10th overall in 3:17:02.8.
It was her 24th career marathon, but her first time running the Ocean Drive event.
“(Crossing the finish line) is why I do it,” Drumbore told SeaIsle News.com Sunday. “It’s an amazing feeling.”
Sunday’s race marked the first time it was held in April in an effort to avoid the brutal winds and chilly temperatures of late March that usually turned the ODM into an extremely challenging race.
It was also the second year it was conducted on the out-and-back course that took runners from JFK Promenade in Sea Isle City to Avalon, Stone Harbor and Middle Township and back. That was done to avoid the head winds that often showed up when the race started in Cape May and ended in Sea Isle City.
“I’ve run 85 marathons and this one is near the top of the list for me,” Mescal said. “The conditions were absolutely perfect, it was a beautiful course and it was extremely well organized. It checked every box.”
The date change may have contributed to a low turnout.
Race director Ed DePalma told SeaIsleNews.com that 476 total runners registered in the marathon, 10-mile and 5-kilometer races, which was the lowest in the event’s 20-year history.
In 2012, for example, almost 1,400 runners finished the three races, including 676 in the marathon.
“We’re hoping after getting the April date established, we’ll get our running base built back up,” DePalma told SeaIsleNews.com on Sunday.
Mescal topped a field of 178 finishers in the marathon. Cory Golden, 31, of Easton, Pennsylvania, finished second in the 26-mile, 385-yard race in 2:58:20.1.
Third-place finisher David Corbett, 34, of Stoneham, Massachusetts, also finished in under three hours in 2:59:09.9.
Melinda Coen, 32, of Morristown, was second in the women’s race and 14th overall in 3:20:47.7.
Cape May’s Joseph Anderson, 26, was the top local finisher. He took seventh place overall in 3:14:38.9. Absecon’s Maria Simone, 44, was the top local women’s runner. She took fifth in the women’s division and 27th overall in 3:35:01.5.
Notes: John Hogan of Washington Township won the 10-miler in 1:02:19.1. Megan Toll, of Havertown, Pennsylvania, topped the women’s field in 1:16:36.3. ... Nicholas Ferzetti, of Ocean City, won the 5K race in 19:11.9. Jodie O’Neill, of Pittsgrove Township, won the women’s race in 24:00.9.
Complete results can be found at www.odmarathon.org/Results.cfm.