The RU Screw: Rutgers Unite 1/2 Marathon

For anyone who didn’t attend Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, for any part of their higher education, the RU screw is a phrase used to describe things Rutgers does to its students dating back to at least 1968. In my case, it was that time they sent me a diploma after I finished all my coursework and requirements and then claimed I didn’t graduate. This was what I was thinking about when I arrived on campus for the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon.

The race is associated with Rutgers but run by CGI Racing. Packet pick up was available Friday and Saturday on the Busch campus and then you could pay extra for morning packet pick up. It’s not a cheap race–students get a discount but the regular going rate is around $70 in advance, $110 if you want to register that day and they also offer an 8k option.

Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 4.48.29 PMWhat I LOVED:

Food. Basically, all a race has to do to get me to love it is to provide ice cold diet Coke at the finish line. This was the most wonderful thing ever (and this is perhaps why I keep coming back to do Wine & Dine?) and on top of that, THEY HAD SOFT PHILLY PRETZELS. So basically, it was the best post half marathon food pack I’ve ever gotten. It was a bag filled with great stuff (potato chips, people) and made me hate the post-race food at Disney even more than I already do.

Really well organized. The race started on time, you lined yourself up according to pace, and the shuttles between the start/finish areas were really convenient. I parked over by the stadium (starting line) and didn’t even have to wait for a bus back. Awesome. Packet pick up was easy, the undergrads who were basically staffing the whole thing were surprisingly unobnoxious, and all in all I thought it went pretty well.

What I could live with:

The Course. Rutgers… Okay, if you’ve ever been to Rutgers, you know that “scenic” is Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 4.47.37 PMkinda… Well, I wouldn’t necessarily use that phrase. But hey, trip down memory lane!

The Cost: It’s definitely not a particularly affordable race. But the food was so great I’d forgive them since they gave me a soft pretzel even I could’ve bought one on the way home for $1…

So basically, everything was really nice and then there was me. I was on a death march. The first 5 miles I stayed with the 9:00 minute/mile pacer, and then I just felt like my head was going to explode. It was as though I needed a bra for my brain, it just felt like it was sloshing around in my skull. I don’t know if it was allergies or not, since the day before I had a similar feeling and I just wanted to curl up into a ball and die, but either way it was unpleasant and then I was totally unable to get my shit together again for the rest of the race.

I was even drinking gatorade, which made me feel marginally better, so if ever there were a sign that the shit was hitting the proverbial fan that was it. I never stop for water during a half and this one I was chugging 3 cups and still my throat felt like sandpaper.

I tanked pretty badly in the second half and just gave up on the whole race and kinda meandered through the rest of it.

As always, though, I left the Rutgers New Brunswick campus having learned a few things that I think will better prepare me for the Nike 1/2 in two weeks:

1. Fries, mushroom barley soup, black and white matzo, and a diet coke at the deli should not be the bulk of what I eat the day before a half.

2. I should probably drink more water and/or liquid at all than just a restaurant diet coke.
3. Don’t go out too fast.
4. Hey, really, don’t go out too fast.
5. Don’t consistently give up.

Anyone else ever learn any valuable lessons out on a race course? Best post race food you ever got included in your registration?


7 thoughts on “The RU Screw: Rutgers Unite 1/2 Marathon


    I feel you on the tanking. FEEL YOU SO HARD. But also YOU NEVER STOP FOR WATER DURING A HALF? What are you, SOME KIND OF MACHINE

    Our next half marathons will be better! There’s basically no way we can’t be better.

    • I’ve never been a run and drink kind of person–I only really stop in the marathon now because I’m a) deathly afraid of portapotty use and b) it sloshes around too much because I never learned things like “moderation” and “sip.”

      It was actually pretty amazing. FROSTING ON A MATZO. Mind = blown.

      • I pinch the cup sides together to create a little spout so I can pour a bit of water into my mouth and not slow down to a walk (unless it’s the second half of a full marathon, or, you know, THE HILLIEST HALF MARATHON EVER). I never drink the whole thing but usually stop at most water stops because I get crazy thirsty.


  2. My husband went to Rutgers and all I have to say is,WHY THE HELL DID HE NOT TELL ME ABOUT BLACK AND WHITE MATZOS?!?!?! I think this may be grounds for divorce. I was actually think about doing this race next year…we’ll see.

    And I always give up on myself during a race which is why typically I race better when I run with people. I gotta get over that. And does Yuengling at the end of the Wine & Dine last year count as food?

  3. “It was as though I needed a bra for my brain, it just felt like it was sloshing around in my skull.”

    I think this has got to be my favorite descriptive sentence. Ever.

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