11th Seashore Marathon only one week away
With a week to go, a record number of participants from 46 states and Canada, England and Ireland are set to toe the line for the 11th annual Rehoboth Seashore Marathon & Half Marathon, scheduled for 7 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 8. As of Nov. 29, the race closed at a record 3,000 participants – 1,923 in the half and 1,077 in the full marathon. Several local runners from Lewes and Rehoboth Beach are taking part in the event for the first time.
Numbers have increased each year following the Marine Corps and New York marathons, as runners either did not finish and are looking for another race, or did not finish where they wanted and are looking to improve.
The marathon course will include 11 volunteer groups doing 17 water stops during the event and handing out more than 40,000 cups of water and Gatorade over the 26.2-mile distance. Groups confirmed as of this week are: Rehoboth Beach Running Company, Sussex Academy cross country, Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute, Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park, Seashore Striders cross country, Mariner Middle Honor Society, Beacon Middle School AVID, Coconut Grove, Cape Honor Society, Cape girls’ indoor track and field, and Cape Leo Club.
Spectators and family members are reminded to use Kings Highway and Cape Henlopen Drive to travel through Lewes and stay off Canal Crossing Road and Hebron Road behind West Rehoboth. Personnel from the Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware State Police, Delaware River & Bay Authority, Lewes Fire Police, Rehoboth Fire Police, Lewes Police Department and Rehoboth Police Department have been hired by the event to patrol the course. There will be no parking in the Hawkseye development for spectators viewing the race on the Lewes side of Junction & Breakwater Trail. Race organizers recommend riding your bike to view the race.
Seashore Marathon history
In 2008, we hosted the inaugural race in late November with a surprise turnout of 433 in the marathon braving a cold morning with snow and ice overnight.
In 2009, we attracted 511 to the event again held in late November under a 50-degree cloudy day.
In 2010, both organizers had a conflict with the date, so we moved 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 runners a chance to come back and redeem themselves from a fall race that did not go so well.
In 2011, we again set a record by having 1,304 cross the line on Rehoboth Avenue, and a new record was set in 2012 as 1,685 participated in the event.
The 2013 event again posted a new record with 1,991 finishers crossing the line in beautiful racing weather.
In 2014, Eddie Valentine from Arlington ran 2:35:57 to win the full marathon, while Katherine Reilly from Bethlehem, Pa., ran 3:18:02 to lead the field of 2,190 runners.
In the 2015 event, Adam Mulia ran 2:38:12 to lead the marathon, while Elizabeth Swierzbinski ran 2:59:41 to win the female title in an overall field of 2,600 runners.
The 2016 edition saw 2,423 cross the finish line, as Bobby Longenecker of Pennsylvania ran 2:38:26, while Kerry Shanley ran 3:05:02 to win the female title.
In 2017, Jon Chesto of Massachusetts ran 2:44:35 to win the full, while local Holly Wilson ran 3:01:02 to lead the field of 2,635 finishers.
Moving the event to early December years ago proved to be a good decision and the weather has become our only concern.
The runners will leave the bandstand at 7 a.m. and run five miles in the city of Rehoboth through North Shores and into a turnaround at Gordons Pond before making their way out of Rehoboth by way of Columbia Avenue, Grove Park, onto the Junction & Breakwater Trail and up to Lewes. Runners in the half-marathon will turn around at the end of the Junction & Breakwater Trail after reaching the Hawkseye development and return to Rehoboth Beach. Once they hit Rehoboth Avenue, it is a straight quarter-mile to the circle, where runners will head down Columbia Avenue to Sussex Street for the final quarter-mile to the Fourth Street finish at Rehoboth Beach Running Company and the Cultured Pearl.
Full marathon course
The first three miles are the same as the half marathon into the Gordons Pond area of Cape Henlopen State Park. At that point, the full takes in one of the most scenic stretches of any marathon in the country - the Gordons Pond Trail to Lewes. The runners will head through Herring Point to Fort Miles and remain on the trail looping the park to the front entrance. While inside the park, runners will pass two lookout towers, go through Fort Miles and climb the great dune lookout before exiting and heading toward Lewes Beach. The full will loop Lewes Beach and head back to the park on the opposite side of Cape Henlopen Drive. Once back in the park, runners will head back to Herring Point, again on the new trail, and back to Gordons Pond. Once back in Rehoboth, the full marathon follows the half-marathon course to the finish line.
Top 6 viewing/cheering locations
1. The Gordons Pond parking lot, which is the three-mile mark for both events. In order to view the runners at this location, you have to drive there before the start of the race. If you remain at Gordons Pond, you can catch the full returning at the 16-mile mark.
2. Grove Park is the five-mile point of the half and 18-mile point of the full. It would be an excellent location to catch the early action in the race or the late action of the marathon. Plenty of parking on site.
3. Wolf Neck Road, better known as the Wawa road off Route 1, is another prime location as the runners come along the Junction & Breakwater Trail and into Lewes at the eight-mile mark and on the return at the 23-mile mark of the marathon. Plenty of parking.
4. Georgia Beach, between Lewes Beach and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, is a great location and fills a definite need for runner encouragement as they pass the 11-mile mark at Cape Henlopen Drive heading from the park. Plenty of parking.
5. Cape Henlopen State Park at Herring Point. This is as far south as you can go on the Lewes side of the park, and you can catch the full heading north coming off the trail at 6 miles and then again on the return at 14 miles. Plenty of parking and restrooms.
6. Cape Henlopen State Park at Fort Miles. This is deep in the park at 7 miles and a bit of a hilly section where encouragement would be helpful. Park entrance fees are in effect and there’s plenty of parking at Fort Miles or across the street at the tower.
Race organizers are asking spectators and family members to be careful driving on Cape Henlopen Drive in Lewes and Canal Crossing Road in Rehoboth from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on race day. For more information, go to rbmarathon.com.