Free & Fit 2020 - The Atlantic City Marathon 2020 - Ran, Blogged and Won by Tim Cheux!

Free & Fit 2020 - The Atlantic City Marathon 2020 - Ran, Blogged and Won by Tim Cheux!

For the past three years I have run a half or half marathon along the Jersey Shore. In 2017 it was the Ocean Seaside Heights half marathon, in 2018 and 2019 the Atlantic City Marathon and this year the first ever virtual Atlantic City Marathon! 

Steeped in tradition and history the Atlantic City marathon is the third longest running marathon route ever in the United States. Normally I would be running 26.2 miles along the Boardwalk in Atlantic City with one run from the end of the route to another including the infamous Atlantic City casinos, restaurants, bars and entertainment. However, this year, due to precautions and state wide sanctions on all long distance running events, we had to co –ordinate our own route, water stations and race preparations.

Without being able to run in Atlantic City as a formal race, rather than try to run along the Boardwalk during the elements of Fall and struggle to tread on the unusual surfaces of wood, rather than road, I decided to run in Long Beach Island, just down the road from Atlantic City. My family, Mother and Aunt in law, have a family home there and they very kindly allowed me to stay there for the weekend and even some of them came along and supported me along the route! 

My wife Liza very faithfully drove along my route providing water, snacks and love and support all the way around. Thank you Liza! It was a grueling run from 16 miles to the finish line as I had severe cramp and was carrying an injured on my hips from continuous running, exercising and strain on both my legs.  As reality set in I soon realized I would not be able to achieve my goal of beating my personal record time of 3:02. This was not something that sat well with me and caused me to have even more of a mental battle with the outcome of the race as I was running so slowly. When you train for a marathon you always train hard, long and endure many miles in preparation for the big race day. As people normally would race with you, cheer you on or support from the sidelines it was quite lonely given the reduced number of people in LBI, lack of crowds to cheer the runners on and the realization I was the only person running the race along this route.

Then as the race ended I reached Holgate, stretched off, checked my time and then hours later wanted to check my race placing. In the previous two years I had finished in the top ten percent and wanted to see how I did this year considering there were only around 150 runners. However, I wasn’t too hopeful of high placing given that my time was slower than my two previous marathons. Yet here we are in the middle of a global health crises and anything can be possible due to so many few people entering. In the end only 47 people entered their times and the third place gave their time as 3:29, second as 3:23 and then, somehow, by absolutely no credit to myself my time of 3:10:54 was enough to win! To my shock and undeserved response, I had finished first in the first ever Atlantic City Marathon in 2020. What an achievement, what a race and what an accomplishment just to finish given the scenario I just described.

However, the main person who deserved the credit was my wife for helping me get round the course, me in laws for providing us with accommodation and our God for humoring me enough to realize that in my own strength I will lose by not recording a good time, but in his strength I will be able to achieve more than I could ever hope or imagine and win the race! Thank you Atlantic City, thank you Liza and thank you Linda and Linen!