Princeton Half Marathon Recap

IMG_7562Someone sent me a listing of the snootiest towns in New Jersey and Princeton ranked #1. My reaction was, “Well, duh.” I grew up on the other side of the township line from Princeton. My childhood was spent alternating between Halo Pub and Thomas Sweet (depending on whether or not my cousin was working at Halo Hell and would give me free ice cream) and I was shocked when the Princeton Gap store closed. My first pair of running shoes were purchased at the Princeton Running Company store on Nassau Street and my first 5k was at Princeton High School. I wrote an article about housing, race, class, and the development of Princeton in the 1950s and I worked at the Historical Society of Princeton when I wasn’t using Princeton University’s library to do research. I used to do textbook ordering for the University when I seasonally worked at Labyrinth Books and briefly adjunct taught at Rider University in Lawrenceville. I took piano and violin lessons at Westminster Choir College and we shop at McCaffrey’s supermarket in the Princeton North Shopping Center.

And I had my most embarrassing, shameful job interview at Princeton University. I’ve never left a place feeling shittier about myself.

Princeton and I have a history and if ever there were to be a race that felt like a hometown race, this was it.

Race Basics
Cost I paid $70 to register back when registration opened
Packet Pick
Up available Thursday/Friday/Saturday
Swag Lot of high value coupons ($10 voucher for running store, free week at a local gym that ain’t cheap, coupon for $5 breakfast & beer buffet post-race) plus the usual t-shirt
Course Overview Residential areas, parks, with portions that are cross country

IMG_7569Things I came away with from this half marathon:

  1. Princeton University has too much money.
  2. The Institute for Advanced Study cannot be allowed to build on the park that is the historic site of the Battle of Princeton. (You run this portion during miles 2-3) That’s beautiful park and it should be left that way, even though The Tree passed on many years ago.
  3. This area… I knew it wasn’t flat, but I didn’t realize it was that not flat.
  4. The race organizers really want to keep having the race, so they insist on not bothering the locals. You can only use assigned parking lots, there is no sound system used at the start, the number of participants in small, and road closures are a big deal. In fact, some roads were only semi-closed; they were letting traffic through when there was a gap in runners. Because we must not inconvenience the locals. And you better believe, volunteers were out picking up every last plastic cup and piece of garbage at every water station. I mean, kudos to those people because they did an amazing job.
  5. Apparently, we’re so snooty even our squirrels are Special. I’m not kidding, Princeton Black Squirrels are a thing. They were on the race shirt and the medal.

Overall, I would say it was a really well run, solid race. It’s a no frills kind of affair and if you’re looking for a town that’d get excited about runners go visit the lower rent hippies over in Hopewell.



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