Philly runner traces Ocean City outline for a perfect Jersey Shore marathon

Who knew it took 26.2 miles to encircle the island?

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Courtesy Britt Miller
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Before this weekend, Philly resident Britt Miller had completed an impressive number of marathons: 34, enough for one each year of her life. Over the Memorial Day holiday, she added another.

Inspired by her friend Michael “Gagz” Gagliardi, who recently traced Philadelphia’s city limits with his jogging path, Miller decided to take the fun to the shore.

She struck out around 7:15 a.m. Sunday morning and successfully ran the entire perimeter of Ocean City, N.J.

The length of her expedition: a perfect marathon, 26.2 miles.

“My husband Ian [Kelly] suggested it,” Miller said, explaining she followed directions he created on plotaroute.com. “I mostly did it because all my other marathons were canceled.”

A digital product manager for URBN who is also a visual artist, with a collection of Philadelphia-themed paintings that’ve been tapped by Visit Philly, NBC10, CBS3 and Teuscher Chocolages, Miller said she usually runs “a couple” of marathons each year.

She was supposed to compete in the Boston Marathon in April, and is holding out hope it’ll happen on its rescheduled date of Sept. 14. But the pandemic has otherwise emptied her race calendar.

Miller and Kelly decamped to her parents’ house in Ocean City at the start of last week. It’s where she spent summers growing up, and “I can do my job remotely,” she explained. They’ve ventured up to the boardwalk a few times to get ice cream, and found light crowds.

Some people are wearing masks, while others are not, Miller said, but “every restaurant has a sign saying if you’re going to stand in line, you must wear one.”

Masked or not, the crowds weren’t out yet when she started the Sunday marathon around the island’s edge.

She saw a few other runners on the boardwalk, where she began. But once she turned away from the ocean, the streets were mostly empty. She did attract stares from people fishing at Corson’s Inlet, the state park at the southern tip, because the waterline was much higher than she expected.

“If I did it again, I would definitely check the tides first,” Miller said. When she and Kelly walked the route on Saturday, it was low tide, but apparently not the next morning. “I had to clamber over a bunch of tree trunks. The fishermen were looking at me like, ‘What are you doing?'”

The most interesting thing she encountered on the trek, which took a total of 4 hours, 35 minutes, was on the island’s bay side.

“There’s old railroad tracks coming into Ocean City!” Miller said. “I had no idea.”

Originally built in 1885 as the Ocean City Railroad, the tracks operated for nearly a century, eventually becoming part of the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines. The last trains ran into the resort as recently as 1981.

Miller said she’s been considering attempting the epic 76-mile “Philly 4 Corners” run documented by her friend Gagliardi. She’s previously done a couple of ultramarathons — a 100-miler and a 75-miler — but “I don’t think they’re as great as Gagz does.”

For now, Miller’s happy with her Jersey Shore edition, she said. “It was super fun!”

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