For the organizers of Sunday’s first Jersey City marathon, things couldn’t have gone much better. Nursing a case of laryngitis, organizer Steve Lipski croaked that he was “beyond ecstatic. It really was a dream come true.”

The feeling wasn’t mutual for many drivers caught in bumper to bumper traffic around the 13-mile course.

Standing next to his immobile Tesla at the intersection of Barrow and Montgomery Streets on Sunday morning, Paul Karaisaridas termed the traffic “horrible.” “I work at the World Trade Center at St. Nicholas shrine, and I’m trying to get there before services. I’ve been stuck for 45 minutes.” Clearly in a religious frame of mind, he added “It’s sort of like Dante’s Inferno: You go through levels of patience, and then you come out angry in the end.”

That the route would cause traffic disruptions, came as no surprise to many, snaking as it did through population-dense Downtown, Greenville and Bergen-Lafayette.

Organizers thought they had prepared. “We met with OEM, Division of Traffic, Jersey City Police, New Jersey Turnpike, NJ Traffic, Hudson Bergen Light Rail, heads of school crossing guards, parking enforcement, and it was satisfactory for the most part,” said Lipski. “We hired a public relations firm … we spent thousands of dollars on social media, we contacted the council people whose wards were affected. I personally went to all of the neighborhood associations. We hired McNair Academic students to put up posters along the route … we went into stores, bodegas, churches.”

Steve Lipski with US Olympic Marathon Gold medalist and two time Boston Marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, Kelly Conover (widow of Mark Conover who won the Olympic Men’s Marathon Trials in Jersey City in 1988) and Hudson County Commissioner Yraida Aponte-Lipski.

But Lipski acknowledged that problems arose. The Turnpike Authority closed both exits into Jersey City, preventing employees of some businesses from getting to work. An attempt to inform Google and Waze about traffic was stymied when they were told, too late, that only the city could make such a request.

Eighty-six cars had to be towed to clear the route. Said Lipski, “If I’m one of those 86 people, I’m not happy, I’m not feeling this event.” But Lipski said he was, nonetheless, proud that the number was so low. Hoboken tows three times the number for its much smaller Arts and Music Festival, he said.

Wearing his half-marathon medal, the ebullient Ward F Councilman and runner Frank Gilmore posted a video to Facebook thanking his constituents for putting up with the traffic snarls. “We understand” he said.

Lipski thinks repetition will help mitigate the inconvenience to residents. “We’re looking to normalize this. To do it on a specific day each year.”

And, says Lipski “this didn’t cost the taxpayers a penny.”

“We’re getting emails from Germany, France, Belgium … all I’m hearing is ‘great, scenic course.'”

“How many events can say that they brought in the first and only U.S. gold medal winning marathoner, Joan Benoit Samuelson?”

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Aaron Morrill

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....