The Sea Isle 10 Miler is an event we never miss and it’s a long-standing tradition for many runners and spectators alike. Officially named the Captain Bill Gallagher 10-Mile Island Run, the race is now in its 44th year. It started out as a lifeguard fitness event and is now one of the largest running events in the region, attracting upwards of 1,500 runners.
Race day is August 2nd and the race begins at 5:45 p.m., not your typical early morning race start. It begins and ends in front of the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Headquarters which is at the 44th Street Beach. The course runs along the Sea Isle City Promenade for about 2.5 miles, and the remaining 7.5 miles is on the beach. It’s a rite of passage for many to conquer the course for the first time and it’s one of those events that you mark on your calendar every year because once you do it, you’re hooked. A test of endurance and mental strength, you never know what Mother Nature has in store for you on a hot and humid August evening.
The short trek through soft sand to get from the Promenade to the packed sand can seem like an eternity. When you realize that you have to do this a second time, well, let’s just say you may start to question your sanity. This is not a race to shoot for a new personal record, but rather to take in the scores of people lined up and down the course handing you water and cheering for you like you’re their first born. You’ll quickly feel the liveliness of the crowd and eat it up, no doubt they get you through some difficult miles. There’s something about those happy faces encouraging you every step of the way that quite simply makes you marvel at the kindness of strangers. And can there ever be enough cow bell?
Running this race is a family affair for us and we usually congregate at a nearby house setting up camp before and celebrating after. Each year, we gather around telling stories of years past trying to convince a new crop of relatives or friends to give it a try. We are all in agreement that it’s the hardest race and yet the most fun. So while we may not convince you to put on your running shoes this Saturday maybe you’ll think about it and set a new goal for next year. At the very least, come on down to the Promenade and cheer. Don’t forget that cow bell!