Spring is around the corner for Cape-area runners

February 28, 2014

We have not had it as bad as runners in the Wilmington, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston areas who have been belted with snow every few weeks for the past three months.   But this is downstate Delaware, and it is not usually this cold, and we have had more snow than normal this winter.  The winter weather does not bother some runners, but others simply put training on hold until the temperature rises above the 40-degree mark.  In 1989, while training for the MEAC Indoor 2 Mile, all of us had to do our workouts in the Delaware State gym at 13 laps to the mile, so I was always looking to get outside and run straight as far as I could. For one 6 a.m. workout, I was scheduled for nine miles at a steady 6:30 to 6:45 pace, and we were hit overnight with 6-8 inches of snow. When I made my way to Route 13, there was no one on the roads but DelDOT plows.  I decided to take a chance, and we know runners will do anything to get a run in, right?  I figured a highway would already be plowed.  Wrong I was, as the plows were just lining up side by side to push snow toward Smyrna on the northbound lane of the highway.  I went and talked to the drivers and told them I wanted to run behind the plow for nine miles and asked if they could bring me back when they did the southbound lane.  So off we went, three DelDOT plows stretched across Route 13 with me in my DSU cross country sweats, gloves and hat following the far right plow in the right-hand lane. Sixty-five minutes later we were in Smyrna with all three drivers looking at me and thinking I was crazy.  I jumped in the cab and we headed south back to DSU with another run, an interesting one indeed, complete.

Where are you, spring?

The spring races are gearing up, and they always draw some decent crowds, because everyone just wants to get out and run.  March and April have several events for runners and walkers to choose from in the area, as well as events that are within an hour's drive from here. This week we will take a look at March events, while next week I will preview April events. We hope the weather begins getting warm for a nice spring.

At 9 a.m., Sunday, March 9, is the 4th Get Pumped for Pets 5K/10K in Chester, Md. This is a great early-season race on a beautiful flat and fast course.  The course features the Kent Island Cross Island Trail and has become a popular event for animal lovers.  Animal Resource Foundation Inc. helps homeless animals find their forever homes, and they need your help. Growing every year, this race features dozens of door prizes, and we have great surprises for participants this year.  Beer after the race - supported by Dogfish Head!  Sign up today!

At 11 a.m., Sunday, March 9, is the second Lucky Leprechaun 5K in Milton, produced by races2run and hosted by Irish Eyes in Milton.  Race-day registration opens at 10 a.m., while early packet pickup and late registration is 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday at Irish Eyes.  Proceeds will benefit the Milton Chamber of Commerce. The Milton St. Patrick's Day Parade will start at 2 p.m.

At 9 a.m., Saturday, March 15, is the 7th St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run & Walk in Denton, Md.  This fun event is hosted by the Caroline County Recreation & Parks Department with proceeds to benefit Summer Youth Programs & the Caroline Humane Society.  Music, costumes, nice scenic course, and you can even bring your four-legged friends.

At 9 a.m., Sunday, March 16, the 8th Shamrock Shuffle 15K & 5K takes place.  The event starts at Cape Henlopen State Park on the Junction & Breakwater Trail behind the Tanger Outlets.  Runners have a 3.1-mile and 9.3-mile course to choose from, both of which wind through the the state park and scenic wildlife areas connecting Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.

The inaugural Running for a Change 5K Run & Walk takes place at 10 a.m., Sunday, March 23, in Laurel. The course follows the beautiful trails of Trap Pond State Park. The event supports Changing Fates Equine Rescue.  The first 100 registered participants are guaranteed a drawstring backpack bag as we take a break from the traditional T-shirt swag.  This first-time race should be a nice run through nature for a great cause.

At 9 a.m., Saturday, March 29, there will be another inaugural event as the Indian River cross country team will host a 5K run and walk on their cross-country course.  The course is 3.1 miles of grassy trails which have produced some pretty quick performances over the past few years.  Help out a fairly new program and challenge yourself on a local high school course.  The River is located off Armory Road in Dagsboro.

The 19th April Fools Day Prediction Challenge starts at 10 a.m., Sunday, March 30, at Cape Henlopen State Park's fishing pier. The April Fools Run takes participants on a beautiful three- to six-mile journey through the park, one to two miles for walkers. Plenty of unique surfaces will offer a challenge throughout. If you are looking for even splits, a personal record, or mile markers, stay home!  If you are looking for a challenging course, a lot of fun, and a great workout, we will see you on the starting line.  Custom Striders Photo Books go to all age-group winners. Visit for March race information.