This past weekend’s Hurricane Irene spared most of the boardwalks in Monmouth and Ocean County and they remain “runner friendly.” The lone exception appears to be the Spring Lake Boardwalk. The Spring Lake boardwalk suffered major damage in several places where it buckled and portions of it were swept away into the ocean.
A portion reportedly even made its way to Asbury Park where it washed ashore there.
The boardwalk is one of the most popular running venues in the area where runners can be found just about all hours of the day any day of the week. It is well lit and a safe haven for runners where regulars recognize each other with friendly waves on their runs. The boardwalk will surely be missed by not only runners but the many walkers who enjoy a stroll along the ocean. All is not lost however as about half of the boardwalk is still ok and “runnable” in the sections where there is damage you just get off and run along Ocean Avenue which is nice and wide with plenty of room to run.
According to Mayor Jennifer Naughton who is also a runner and an accomplished triathlete the town will rebuild the boardwalk. It’s obviously too early to determine when the boardwalk will be back for all to enjoy but hopefully it will be soon.
A quick check of other boardwalks in the area found they were open with no problems for runners from Asbury Park, through Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach, Avon, Belmar and Sea Girt as well as Long Branch.
Another popular running location the Manasquan Reservoir 5 mile path has been closed due to debris and fallen limbs and trees along the path – no word on when that will be open. But the Monmouth County Park System always does a great job in cleaning up and maintaining the path so it may be open soon.
And Holmdel Park is being cleaned up as well and should be all set for the big Saturday in the Park Women’s Race there this Saturday.
All in all we are fairly fortunate that we were spared the anticipated damage that would have come with a stronger hurricane.
Runners can check out the boardwalks at the Jersey Shore Running Club’s Thursday Run which meets at the Fifth Avenue Pavillion on the Boardwalk in Belmar at 6 PM just about every Thursday. The group runs from Belmar through Spring Lake – and will take a detour off the boards – and for those interested in lionger runs up to 8 plus miles will go into Sea Girt. On especially windy days with the wind out of the north the group often heads north toward Asbury Park through Avon, Bradley Beach and Ocean Grove.
Get more information on the club’s web site.