Delaware running in the heat: keep your cool

July 19, 2013

I returned from a vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine, and then Ohiopyle, Pa., where the nights were cool and the days overcast with low humidity. Back to the First State, which was belted last week with record rainfall amounts in just two days and this week with a heat advisory and record temperatures.

It is amazing how the weather can change so dramatically as you move to different parts of the country. If you are a runner from this area or visiting this week, the only safe part of the day to train is early in the morning or late at night. Training for a marathon with my buddy Craig Dayton, we put our mileage in well before 7 a.m. or took easy runs late at night.

I am still amazed at the not-so-smart visitors we have in our area who go for a run at 1 p.m., the hottest time of the day.

Years ago the Runner’s World rule of thumb was the magic number of 160. If the heat and humidity add up to more than 160 in any combination, you simply do not run.  As a race director of 23 years, I always try to make races that will be affected by the heat my No. 1 priority when prepping for the event, whether it is adding water stops, adding ice for the finish, cooling off under tents, or whatever else you need to do to get through safely.  

What I always ask the participants to do is to race smart and adjust their paces accordingly in a safe manner. If a race is 90 degrees at the start then it does not make much sense to run it hard for a new record; it makes a lot of sense to back it off and race safe and comfortable and just support the cause.

Saturday morning we are expecting more than 300 for the Race for the Ribbon 5K, a popular event in Rehoboth Beach, while Sunday morning we are expecting just over 200 for the annual YMCA 5 Miler.

Race for the Ribbon 5K

One of the popular stops on the Seashore Striders Racing Series is this Saturday morning, July 20, with the Race for the Ribbon 5K in Rehoboth Beach beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Organizer Stephanie Shuttleworth, a special education teacher at H.O. Brittingham Elementary in Milton, leads the event that has raised just over $50,000 in five years. Last year the event raised more than $11,000 and had 339 participants on race day with a similar field expected this year.

“This year we are raising money for the American Cancer Society and the Hitchens family of Georgetown,” said Shuttleworth. “Greysen Hitchens has inoperable brain cancer. I used to donate all of the money raised to the American Cancer Society, but then last year I decided to help a local family in need, too. Our community has been so generous by supporting the Race for the Ribbon that I thought we should give back."

This year the event will start and finish at Wilmington Avenue and the Boardwalk, site of the Greene Turtle Restaurant, which will host the post-race celebration including a free breakfast buffet, music, awards and a silent auction.

Many local businesses donated silent auction items such as restaurant gift certificates, apparel, Thirty-one bags, gift baskets, even a granite vanity top. Also, we will be auctioning off an original painting done by Greysen Hitchens himself.

An exciting twist this year: Daniel MacLeish, USA 153rd MP Co-Platoon Leader, has approximately 30 members of the Delaware Army National Guard who are currently deployed in Afghanistan who will be joining us on race day by running their own Race for the Ribbon Abroad.

Shuttleworth will be sending T-shirts and awards to participants overseas. This positive addition will be a first for a Seashore Striders event. Join us on Saturday with registration beginning at 6:30 a.m. Arrive early!

YMCA 5 Miler will serve Catcher’s pancakes

Sunday morning will mark the 31st Annual YMCA 5 Miler in Rehoboth Beach, always a beautiful event that takes in Henlopen Acres and North Shores.

This is a qualifying event for the Seashore Striders Summer Racing Series as participants have to complete one of two five-mile runs throughout the summer. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. and will feature pancakes by Catcher’s Restaurant at the post-race party. What better way to spend a Sunday morning and what better organization to run for than the Sussex Family YMCA of Rehoboth Beach?

Upcoming races

7:30 a.m., Saturday, July 20, Sixth Run for the Ribbon 5K, Greene Turtle, Rehoboth Beach,

7:30 a.m., Sunday, July 21, 31st YMCA 5-Miler, Deauville Beach, Rehoboth Beach,

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