Tracey, Landis inducted into Dam Mill Hall of Fame

Bamforth wins second national title
Ben Bamforth rocks the Beanie Baby look while winning the beach run at the Aug. 8 USLA Junior Lifeguard Nationals in Cape May, N.J.
August 10, 2012

The annual Dam Mill 5K Run was held Aug. 4 in Millsboro with 150 runners lining up at the starting line for the 29th annual. The town of Millsboro, the police staff, and John Hall and his fire police crew do an outstanding job providing the participants with a safe 5K course, which starts and finishes in Cupola Park. Most of the feedback I have received since I became race director in 1990 is that the Dam Mill course is one of the fastest 5Ks in the state, highlighted by shade most of the way, long straight stretches on the out-and-back route, and the downhill finish into the park.

At the finish it was 17-year-old Sussex Tech senior Dylan Varrato of Georgetown all alone with a new road personal best of 17:17, followed by another Sussex Tech runner in 16-year-old Bobby Townley of Laurel, second in 18:08. Third place went to former Lake runner Eric Payne, 43, of Felton in 18:18; he was the top masters finisher in the race. Fourth place went to 17-year-old Sussex Tech’s Ricky Hernandez of Frankford in 18:37, while Matt Dunn of Trappe, Md., rounded out the top five in 18:47. Three of the top four runners were in the 14-19 age group, all from Sussex Tech.

Cindy Conant, 51, of Kensington, Md., won the female race in 19:31, while Amanda An of Ellicott City, Md., was second in 20:21.  Bridget Danner of Rehoboth Beach was third in 20:24, while Susan Dunn of Laurel was fourth in 22:06. Mardiny Ung of Elizabethtown, Pa. rounded out the top five female finishers in 22:07.

Hall of Fame

One of the highlights of the event was the induction of two male runners into the Hall of Fame, which was created nine years ago at the 20th annual celebration. Longtime runners Peter Tracey, 52, of Washington, D.C., and David Landis, 52, of Selbyville, both in the 50-54 age group, were this year’s choices to enter the Dam Mill Hall. Both Landis and Tracey have competed in nearly 20 Dam Mill events and have also qualified for the Seashore Striders Racing Series for 22 straight years, which is an amazing accomplishment. The two are usually within seconds of each other regardless of the race and have watched many runners come and go at the annual Dam Mill event.

“This is a great race and this honor means a lot to me,” said a thankful Peter Tracey. The goal of next year’s event, the 30th annual, is to gather all the inductees to the Hall of Fame for a reunion at the event. If you’re in the Hall of Fame for the Dam Mill 5K, mark your calendars now for early August 2013 and the 30th annual Dam Mill 5K Run.

The Link to the USLA Nationals

On Aug. 7,  I sent my cross country team in one direction toward the state park for their weekly training run, and my son Ben and I boarded the ferry in the other direction to head to Cape May, N.J.  Cape May was hosting the U.S. Lifesaving Association Junior Lifeguard Nationals Aug. 8 while longtime Striders runner and Cape May resident/historian Joe Link was hosting us. Link, originally from Philadelphia and finisher of several Boston Marathons, was one of the best age-group runners all through the 1990s with the Seashore Striders.   We arrived early Wednesday on the beach, filled out the required paperwork, paid the $35 fee and then were told that Ben could not compete because he did not have that yarmulke-looking competition beanie hat that all lifeguards are required to compete in. “I’m not wearing that thing," said Ben as I quickly borrowed a gold-and-black one from the Cape May team and stuck it on his head.  The officials surprised the field of 80 guards by running the whole 1.5K event on soft sand instead of the traditional hard sand course that most patrols do. That move proved to be an advantage for our lower, slower 13-year-old, who had also won the national cross country title as an 8-year old, powering through the course and pulling away in the second half of the race for a 10- second lead at the finish.  As Ben crossed the line with his Steeler-colored beanie and "Cape May" lettered on the side, the announcer repeated multiple times “How about this Cape May athlete? Let’s hear it for Cape May in the lead and the national title!" The Cape May parents and the Cape May athletes looked confused as they wondered who this kid was with red shorts and their beanie hat. Joe and I just laughed at the scene.

We returned the beanie, collected the gold medal, and jumped in the Linkmobile as my friend continued his history lesson behind every beach town along the Jersey Coast from Cape May to Ocean City and Ben dozed in the backseat. All in all, a very productive and interesting day in Cape May.

Upcoming races

8 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 11, 10th Highway One Group 10K/5K, Rusty Rudder, Dewey Beach.

8:30 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 12, Third Free to Breathe Lung Cancer 5K and 1-Mile Walk, Cape High, Lewes.

8 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 12, Best Buddies Dewey 5K, Dewey Beach.