Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Down the Shore with...Benjamin Orlock

I was going to hold off writing about this until Friday, but, well, I got Benjamin Orlock of the Ocean Drive Marathon to sit down and chat for this week's "Down the Shore with..." so now's as good a time as any to say that I'll be in Wildwood and Cape May this weekend running the 10 mile portion of the Ocean Drive Marathon. Aside from reading and writing, running is a passion of mine, and this is going to be my longest race -- ever. How fitting that it's down the shore.

So I asked Ben about the history of the race and what we runners can expect. And if you're a runner and like taking jogs by the beach, come on out! There's a 5k portion of the race, too (and if you buy my book, make sure to look out for the special feature about how to run at the Jersey Shore -- because it's not quite the same as running inland).

1. What do you consider 'your' shore town and why?
Unfortunately, I haven't been to the shore much in the summer months in many years. My recent experiences at the shore have been mostly the work I do for the Marathon--which is in the off-season for the area. So I'd have to say, these days I've been partial to Cape May as it seems to have the most life during the off-season. Although I have also come to appreciate the emptiness of Wildwood in the winter.

2. A lot of people go to the shore just to eat eat eat. Any recommendations? Especially for those of us who are carb loading?
This weekend I'm going to try a new place I haven't been to yet but it's
come highy reccommended by a few whose judgement has proven reliable before -- Gecko's in Cape May promises to be a great little Mexican place, though I'm not sure it's the best choice for carb loading.

The official pasta dinner for the race will be at the restaurant at the Montego Bay Hotel in Wildwood. This is where many runners stay as well as the site of the Boardwalk finish line for the 10 miler.

New to this year's events are the race festivities that will be going on at LaCosta Lounge near the finish line in Sea Isle City. Festivities will include food, drink, music and good cheer from 10:30 AM until 3:30 PM. The LaCosta will also be the venue for the OD 5K & ODMarathon awards ceremony. For some other ideas, we've been refering our runners to

3. How did the OD Marathon get started?
The idea for the Marathon began 10 years ago when our Race Director, Ed Depalma, presented the idea for a marathon to the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders. The idea was embraced by the Board as a great way to bring exposure to the shore communities as well as a great opportunity for all the local communities to get involved in a beneficial and exciting event.

4. When did you add the 10 mile and 5k portions?
The 10 mile and 5K began the same year as the marathon. The 5K was created primarily as a small event to keep our volunteers and spectators involved at the finish area in Sea Isle between during the time between the start and finish of the marathon.

5. What makes the Ocean Drive Marathon a fun race?
Its a great way to see a beautiful stretch of shoreline and shoretowns, especially since its during the offseason. You get a whole new perspective on the area--so many people only get to the shore during warmer times.

6. I'm worried about the wind and the cold being so close to the water. Any suggestions?
You should worry! It's March on the Atlantic ocean--what more can I say? Hope for the best, but be prepared for worse. The wind can definitely make its presence known--if we're lucky it's from behind! There's a good portion of the race that's run near the water but also some good escapes inland so there's usually relief ahead. I'm not a runner myself, but there will be apparel vendors on hand at the Expo on Saturday to advise runners on what apparel and gear would be best for Sunday's conditions.

For more information, go to

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