Rodriguez, McKenzie win historic Dam Mill 5K
The 37th annual Dam Mill 5K was held virtually last weekend with 94 participants signing up to raise funds for the Millsboro Fire Department.
Race organizer John Hall led the way again and has been one of the driving forces in keeping the event going. The event started in the mid-1980s and is one of the longest-running 5K races in the state. Back in the day, it was one of those events that many of the popular runners just always penciled into their race calendar. If it was a 10-miler, you always did the Bottle & Cork. If it was a 10K, you always did the Stampede. And if it was a 5K – and there were lots to choose from – you penciled in the Dam Mill. When the race started and for the first 20 years, the event was spelled “Damn” and not “Dam,” but that’s a whole other story for another day.
Martin Rodriguez of Selbyville won the male overall title in 17:44, while Shannon McKenzie of Bethel Park, Pa., won her first overall female championship in the series in a time of 19:58. Mike Sewell of Lewes won the male masters in 19:04, while Susan Greally of Millsboro won the female masters in 20:02. Greally, 54, and McKenzie, 41, are both over 40 master runners and two of the best we have had complete the whole Summer Racing Series. Greally has won her share of races in the series, and for the first half of the series, she was chasing young Josie Ledford, who needs one race to qualify and needs to run 24:02 to win the series. McKenzie has been gathering her share of master championships all summer, but has not won an overall title until Dam Mill.
Running many races just over the 20-minute barrier, McKenzie finally broke 20 minutes and captured her first championship at a race that has such a running history in this area.
Summer Racing Series update
With just one event to go, we have 91 runners who have qualified for summer series. A total of 14 runners need just one race to qualify, which will put us over 100 qualifiers for the summer. The one statistic that I mentioned last week that is a record breaker is that 40 runners have completed all eight events so far and the all-time record for 100 percent completion is under 20. This week, I am happy to report that all 40 runners completed the Dam Mill event. It is amazing that we may have so many complete every race in the series.
Local friend and retired Seashore Striders cross country parent and 6 a.m. course setup man Joe D’Amico recently sent me a cool article from Colorado regarding a new running club that has formed called On Athletics Club. A recent challenge was held in Boulder because no runner had ever run a mile in less than four minutes in the state. It was a good way to kick off the club with an exciting challenge. That all changed on Aug. 3, as Joe Klecker and Olli Hoare became the first two to run a sub-four-minute mile in Colorado, finishing in a times of 3:56.8 and 3:58.4, respectively. Klecker was a standout runner at the University of Colorado in Boulder who finished second at the 2019 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Hoare competed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The team will be coached by three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, who retired from pro running earlier this year.
Run for the Paws 5K
The final summer series event is the 12th annual Run for the Paws Lucy Crowe Memorial 5K. It will take place virtually this Saturday and Sunday anywhere in the country. The race will benefit the Brandywine Valley SPCA and will count toward the Seashore Strider Summer Racing Series. On Friday, Aug. 7, the Seashore Striders will host a local packet pick-up at Pet Smart on Route 1, 19563 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach. The swag for this event will be a scarf/bandana that can be worn on your dog or even worn by the owner. The pickup will be next to Chick-fil-A. For more information on the Run for the Paws 5K, go to www.seashorestriders.com.