Flat and fast Dam Mill 5K to be held this Saturday in Millsboro
If you are looking for a 5K personal best with a slight downhill finish on an out-and-back course with only a few turns, the Dam Mill 5K is your ticket. The event, in its 38th year, is nicknamed The Best Little Race in Delaware and will start off from Cupola Park in Millsboro, a few blocks behind the Millsboro Fire Department along the water. This year the event will benefit the Millsboro Fire Department, with Hall of Famer John Hall as organizer. A field of 150-175 is expected to toe the line for the 7:30 a.m. start. Awards will be presented to the top three finishers in five-year age groups. A combination of regular and sleeveless T-shirts will be presented to all preregistered participants. Registration is still open through Friday evening at 6 p.m., and race-day registration will be available for 45 minutes beginning at 6:30 a.m.
One of the highlights of the morning at each Dam Mill event is the recognition of the Dam Mill Hall of Fame that I started in 2003.
Hall of fame history
In 2003, the Seashore Striders celebrated the 20-year anniversary with induction of the original three founders: Gary Brittingham, Graham Living and Donna Rogers.
At the 2004 event, longtime runners Marion Lisehora and Tom Sombar won the honor for their yearly dedication to the race.
The induction of the third class in 2005 was the highlight of the morning. That year, the event’s first winner back in 1984, Eric Beam of Ocean View, was inducted along with longtime race director in the 1980s, Dr. Paul Collins.
The Hall of Fame presentation was held just before the award ceremony as hall of famer Marion Lisehora presented former chamber President Joan Boyce with the 2006 honor; safety coordinator John Hall was inducted for his efforts in making the event one of the safest in the state.
The highlight of the day, outside of the best running weather of the whole summer, was the 2007 induction of Roger Marino into the Dam Mill Hall of Fame. Marino and his crew from Mountaire work countless hours on the event and team up with the Millsboro police and fire police to make sure the event goes off perfectly.
Race director Bruce Springer was inducted in 2008. Springer directed the event in the late '80s and into the '90s, when he also owned Timeout Sports, a longtime running shop in Rehoboth Beach.
The 2009 selection went to the level-headed brains of the 19-year operation, and the Hall of Fame added its own personal physician of racing, Dr. Lee Masser, to the group.
Behind-the-scenes individuals who work hard to make the event as safe as possible, the Millsboro Police Department became the 2010 selection to the Dam Mill 5K Hall of Fame.
In 2011, the first and one of the best age-group runners, Herb Hall, who dominated three different age groups for nearly 15 years, joined the Hall of Fame. Joining Hall was Terry Ayers, who handled many post-race celebrations with great refreshments and door prizes.
In 2012, longtime runners Peter Tracey, 52, of Washington, D.C., and David Landis, 52, of Selbyville, who had competed for 20 years, entered the Hall of Fame.
2013 saw running icons Richard Tikiob and Dave “Fredman” Frederick voted into the Hall of Fame. Both were Dam Mill runners and now capture photo memories, with Fredman covering the start and finish, and Tikiob all over the course with action shots. Thousands of runners each summer enjoy their professional photos.
Seashore Striders volunteers Joey Kwit and Roxy Castillo were honored in 2014. They travel weekly from New York City to Rehoboth Beach to be a part of the Seashore Striders family and help put on quality events at the beach. Two volunteers that are simply the best.
Entering the Hall of Fame in 2015 were two outstanding age-group runners dating back to the late ’80s – Alan Quillen and the late Larry Windsor. Both training partners were respected by the running community for nearly three decades.
In 2016, one of the best age group runners this race has ever seen was honored – Breck Vanderwende. He won age-group championships in 2000, ‘01, ‘02, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13 and ‘15. That is 10 of 16 years.
Dianna Golden and Leslie Wright entered the Hall of Fame in 2017. Golden is a masters runner who dominated three age groups and has won several titles in Millsboro. Wright has won several overall titles over the years, and in his prime, he was always a force when he toed the line.
Olympic 1,500 runner Matt Centrowitz
Matt Centrowitz, a Maryland graduate out of Broadneck High School, ran for the University of Oregon Ducks and now is one of the best in the world at 1,500 meters. Matt’s dad Matt Sr. is a former American record holder at 5,000 meters and a longtime coach at American University. Matt Sr. and I talk a few times a year, and I try to let him know when my Cape girls are in New York City racing at the Armory, as he coached at Manhattan College for three years. Manhattan College is directly across the street from historic Van Cortlandt Park, home of several top cross country championships, including the Kinney Eastern Regionals every November.
Centrowitz plans to pursue other opportunities including producing a film based on the book he co-authored, "Like Father, Like Son: My Story on Running, Coaching and Parenting," which is about his relationship with his son, Matthew Centrowitz Jr., who at the 2016 Olympic Games became the first American since 1908 to win Olympic gold in the 1,500 meters.
Here is the tie to the Seashore Striders. The Centrowitz family vacationed in Rehoboth Beach for several years when little Matt Jr. was in the 9-and-under age group and always raced in the Run for JJ 5K. If you can believe it, Olympic champion Matt did not always win his age group each year, as Striders member Evan Mock had his number and finished ahead of Centrowitz a few years.
Centrowitz recently finished second in the 1,500 meters at the recent Olympic Trials by running 3:42 in the semifinals and 3:35.34 in the finals. Cole Hocker of Oregon finished a step ahead to win in 3:35.28, setting a new personal best.
With Olympic track & field action getting ready to begin, look for Matt Centrowitz, once racing through the Acres and now racing on the track against the best in the world in the 1,500 meters. If the race is slow and tactical, then Matt, with incredible 50-second closing speed, will be in the money, but if it is a fast pace, then they may get away from him. Stay tuned!