Seashore Marathon will draw more than 2,300 to Rehoboth

December 6, 2013

The shirts are folded, the bags are stuffed, the chips have been placed on the race numbers, race numbers are in A-Z order and ready to distribute, the gigantic tent is up and sturdy, the water stops are stocked, and the runners are arriving. The Seashore Marathon & Half Marathon will take off at 7 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, from the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.  More than 2,300 runners are expected to cross the starting line and head out for their 13.1- and 26.2-mile journeys through the beautiful area we call home at the beach. Hundreds of volunteers for the 18 water stops are ready to offer support, while more than 50 hired personnel will be on the course including Delaware State Police, Rehoboth and Lewes police and fire police, Delaware Fire Police, and DelDOT to provide safety on the course for the participants.

A record number of participants from more than 45 states will toe the line for the sixth annual event, while several local runners from Lewes and Rehoboth Beach are taking part in the event for their first time.

Numbers have increased following the Marine Corps and New York marathons, as runners either did not finish and are looking for another try or did not finish where they wanted and are looking to improve.

The marathon will include 11 volunteer groups doing 18 water stops during the event and handing out more than 35,000 cups of water and Gatorade over the 26.2-mile distance. Groups that are confirmed as of this week are the following: Delaware Swoop travel softball team, Odyssey of the Mind, Tri-Delaware, Cape Honor Society, Epworth Skate Project, Sussex Tech cross country, Cape Leo Club, MERR, Scout Troop 2540, and the Seashore Striders cross country team.

Spectators and family members of the marathoners are reminded to use Kings Highway and Cape Henlopen Drive to travel through Lewes and remain off Gills Neck Road on the Lewes side of the Junction and Breakwater Trail. The goal is to keep traffic flowing on Gills Neck Road for the residents of Hawkseye, Wolfe Runne, and Wolfe Pointe during the event. Personnel from DelDOT, Delaware State Police, Lewes Fire Police, and Lewes Police Department have been hired by the event to patrol Gills Neck Road.

Seashore Marathon History

In 2008, we hosted the first annual in late November with a surprise turnout of 433 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 moved it to early December, and 959 finishers crossed the line for that one. The Rehoboth Marathon is now basically the last in the fall season, giving runners a chance to come back and redeem themselves from an earlier race in the fall that did not go so 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 as 1,685 participated in the event. Last year, the marathon increased by nearly 200 runners to go along with the popular half-marathon distance that will start at the same time. Moving the event to early December proved to be a good decision, and the weather becomes our major concern.

Course Preview: The runners will leave the Rehoboth Bandstand at 7 a.m. and run five miles through North Shores and into a turnaround at Gordons Pond before making their way out of Rehoboth by way of Columbia Avenue, Grove Park, and the Junction & Breakwater Trail as they head toward Lewes. Runners in the half-marathon will turn around after reaching the Hawkseye development, while the marathon will continue north into Lewes by way of Gills Neck Road. Runners will cross the drawbridge at Savannah Road and follow Cape Henlopen Drive into beautiful Cape Henlopen State Park for four miles of bike trails. While inside the park, runners will pass two lookout towers, go through Fort Miles, climb the great dune lookout, and take in the point of the park before exiting and heading toward Lewes Beach. Runners will return to Rehoboth by the same route, and once they hit Rehoboth Avenue it is a straight half-mile shot to the finish on Lake Avenue directly behind the Rehoboth Beach Running Company.

Viewing/cheering locations include Grove Park at the five-mile point for early and late action. Plenty of parking on site. Wolfe Neck Road, better known as the Wawa road off Route 1 north will be another prime location at mile 8 and mile 23. There is also plenty of parking here with a restroom on site.

Lewes Beach parking lot gives a view of runners at the 11.5-mile and 19-mile marks. Cape Henlopen State Park at Fort Miles is at 14.5 miles and a bit of a hilly section; runners will pass the bathhouse at the 15.5-mile mark. Park entrance fees will be in effect.

The Seashore Striders race organizers ask spectators and family members to stay off Gills Neck Road from 8 to 11:30 a.m. in Lewes because of traffic and safety issues on the shoulder of the road.

The Rehoboth Beach Running Company and the Seashore Striders produce the event, which has become one of the largest downstate, bringing thousands of people and much revenue to the December weekend.

Three historic points in the race

Runners will pass through historic Fort Miles and head up an incline to what is called the lookout and a great shot at a possible peek at Cape May, N.J., at the 14.7-mile mark.

The runners will pass the 16-mile mark and head to the loop around the Pilot Tower and get a quick look to their right at the Cape Henlopen point, well known around the East Coast.

The original Lewes Seashore Marathon took place in the late '70s and finished on Sussex Drive right around the corner from the old Lewes High School building.

Upcoming races

10 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, Eighth Snowball 5K Run, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes.

12 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 28, First Surfin’ Snowman 5 Miler & Santa’s Helper 2 Mile Family Challenge Run/Walk, Bethany Beach.

12 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 31, 11th Race into the New Year 5K & Kids' 12 & under Dash, Rehoboth Beach Running Company, Rehoboth Beach.

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