Marathon mania returns to the beach

December 2, 2016

Record numbers are signed up for the upcoming Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon to be held Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 7 a.m. from the Rehoboth Bandstand. As of Wednesday evening, the latest count was 1,200 in the full marathon and 1,800 in the half-marathon for a new record total of 3,000 for the event. Ten different agencies and hundreds of volunteers will be working hard Saturday to provide runners from at least 47 states a positive half-marathon and full marathon experience in the Nation’s Summer Capital of Rehoboth Beach. The event is organized by the Rehoboth Beach Running Company and the Seashore Striders.

The History…

In 2008, we hosted the first race in late November with a surprise turnout of 433 in the marathon, braving a cold morning with snow and ice falling overnight. In 2009, we attracted 511 to the event that was again held in late November. In 2010, both organizers had a conflict with the date, so we decided to move it to early December, and it proved to be a great decision, as 959 finishers crossed the line. With the Rehoboth Marathon now basically being the last in the fall season, it gives those runners a chance to come back and redeem themselves from a race in the fall that did not go as well. In 2011, we again set a record by having 1,304 cross the line on Rehoboth Avenue, while the all-time high was in 2012 when 1,685 participated in the event. Last year and this year alike, we have picked up many runners who competed in the Marine Corps and New York City marathons. In 2013, the marathon increased by nearly 200 runners to go along with the popular half-marathon distance that starts at the same time.  In 2014 we had 1,302 half finishers and 891 full finishers for a record of just under 2,200 runners. Last year in 2015, we increased by a few hundred to finish just under 2,500 participants.  Moving the event in 2010 to early December proved to be a good decision, and the weather becomes our only concern.

Viewing/cheering locations

Grove Park at the five-mile point would be an excellent location to catch the early action in the race or the late action at the 25.8-mile mark. Plenty of parking on site.                                        

Wolf Neck Road, better known as the Wawa road off Route 1, will be another prime location, as the runners make their way through the Junction & Breakwater Trail toward Lewes at the eight-mile mark for the half and the 22-mile mark for the full. Plenty of parking on site plus a state park restroom.                 

Georgia Beach, located just east of Lewes Beach, would be a great location and a definite need for runner encouragement, as the marathoners pass the 9.5-mile mark on Cape Henlopen Drive heading to Lewes Beach. Plenty of parking at Georgia Beach. 

Cape Henlopen State Park at Fort Miles is deep in the state park at the marathon eight-mile mark and a bit of a hilly section where encouragement would be helpful. Park entrance fees are in effect, but there is plenty of parking at Fort Miles.

Race note 

The Seashore race organizers are asking spectators and family members not to park on Cape Henlopen Drive in Lewes and at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal, as runners will be using both shoulders of the road in Lewes.   

Please use Savannah Road or Kings Highway and park at the Georgia Beach parking lot located between Lewes Beach and the ferry.

In Rehoboth, parking is not allowed along any parts of the course.

Facts and figures                                                           

26.2 miles in distance, two towns, 10 water stop groups doing 18 water stops.

Turkey races at the beach

A field of 1,021 runners turned out for the Thanksgiving Day Gabby Gobble 5K from Irish Eyes, while 390 took part in the Pumpkin Pie 5K in Rehoboth Nov. 26, and just over 130 took part in the Turkey Trot from Sea Colony Nov. 27. If you do the math, more than 1,500 participants took part in three local events over the past week here at the beach. It is likely another 300 to 400 actually entered, but did not show, raising the total to near the 2,000 participant number. Thanksgiving events, not just here, but nationwide are some of the largest events of the year, attracting more first-time runners than any other time of the year.

Josh Parshall, 21, of Fairfax, Va., won the Gabby Gobble in a time of 16:43, while 17-year-old Ben Bamforth of Lewes won the Pumpkin Pie 5K in Rehoboth in a time of 17:15. On Sunday it was 15-year-old Austin Cave of Delmar with a winning time of 16:46 in the Turkey Trot. On the female side of the action, 26-year-old Jennifer Brill out of Washington, D.C., won the Thanksgiving Day event in 18:43, while 24-year-old Sally Marx ran 20:40 to win the Pumpkin Pie 5K and 12-year-old tough youngster Kennedy Hayward of  Vienna, Va., won the Turkey Trot in 21:01.