Joint Base gears up for inaugural race series “Beat 539″
The Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is hosting its inaugural "Beat 539" race series on Saturday, October 22, 2016, consisting of a Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K and 1 mile Fun Run to promote a healthy lifestyle and community involvement, according to race director Sandy Mckay.
Participants must register in advance, and all spectators and volunteers must provide a Driver's License, to gain entry onto the Joint Base, according to Mckay.
"They're going to have to give their information, and then through our security department, they will run their background checks and then they will be able to get on base. For security reasons we need to do that," said Mckay. She added, drivers also will need to provide a valid vehicle registration and insurance card.
Marathon participants will get a unique chance to cross over each of the bases, Mckay pointed out.
"They're going to start at McGuire, their flightline, come through the ranges over at Fort Dix and finish at Lakehurst, so it's really one-of-a-kind base, a tri-base race," she said. Mckay explained that the Air Force Marathon in Ohio, is limited to that base.
The marathon course is USATF-certified, and runners who finish under a certain time, can quality for the Boston Marathon. Mckay is hoping to receive about 100 entries for the 26.2 mile race and between 150 to 250 runners for the 13.1 mile race. She estimates about 50 percent of the participants who have registered so far are military members, include from states such as Virginia, Texas, Florida and Illinois.
Proceeds from the entries benefit a fund that provides programs for military members, according to Mckay. "It could be tickets to shows or it could be a fitness program, and we have free concerts," she said. As far a a monetary goal, McKay added, "I would like to cover my costs, but it is a community event, and it is a building year, so hopefully after this year, it will get bigger and better."
All participants will come to the Lakehurst side of the Joint Base. Marathoners will be bused at 5:30 a.m. to the start of the 26.2 mile race at the McGuire Flight Line.
Route 539 runs between the Lakehurst and Fort Dix borderline, which McKay explained inspired the name of the race series. "It's kind of like a challenge, so when you start on the flightline at McGuire, you have approximately 14.6 miles to go, so it starts at 8 o'clock in the morning, you need to get over the road before 1 o'clock in the afternoon," said Mckay.
Those who fall short will be picked up and bused back to the finish. Mckay explained the concept is similar to the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in which participants must make it to a bridge by a certain point, or face being picked up and bused back to the finish.
Volunteers and race pacers are needed, and will include civilians and military members. Volunteers must be cleared by security in advance and anyone interested should contact McKay at 732- 323-7325.
"At the end of the race we'll have military members from select services handing out the medals as they finish," she added.
The Half Marathan and Marathon will start at 8 a.m., the One Mile Fun Run will go off at 8:15 a.m., followed by the 5k at 8:30.
Route 539 will be closed prior to the 8 a.m. start and will not reopen until after 1 p.m., according to Mckay. "We are getting support from the area police, crossing over different townships and municipalities.
Participants have until October 12, 2016 to register online at imathlete.com.
Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at Dianne.DeOliveira@townsquaremedia.com.