Seashore marathon, half-marathon draw 2,600 runners

December 8, 2023

The Rehoboth Beach Running Company Seashore Marathon and Half Marathon came to town last weekend with thousands of runners and spectators filling the restaurants and hotels, and providing an economic boost to the local economy on a normally slow December weekend.  

At the sound of the 7 a.m. Don Don Mitchell fire horn, Phillip Duncan of Omaha, Neb., wasted no time going to the front of the pack. That’s where he remained the whole race. Averaging a 5:09 mile pace through the first four-and-a-half miles through the Rehoboth loop taking in the iconic Boardwalk, Duncan had opened up a two-minute gap on the field. By 11 miles at the north end of Cape Henlopen State Park, Duncan had five minutes on the field, cruising through the halfway mark in 1:12.  

By the finish, his lead was 10 minutes. He crossed the line in 2:25:12 with a final mile pace of 5:33. Duncan is the head coach for cross country and track & field at Southeast Community College and has a background in music as well as being an Eagle Scout.

Local elite runner Dylan Smiley paced Wilmington runner Joey Andrisani through 22 miles and then switched gears to average 5:44 for the final four miles and take second place in a finishing time of 2:35:49. John Newton of Wilmington finished third in 2:37:50, while Andrisani ran to a fourth-place finish in 2:38:32. Rounding out the top five male marathoners was Bruce Johnson of Massachusetts in 2:39:27. 

On the female side, Jacqueline Alnes of West Chester, Pa., was the overall champion in 2:56:42 for a mile pace of 6:45. Elizabeth Swierzbinski of Wilmington finished second in 2:57:40, while Lindsay Susi of Lincoln University was third in 3:01:50. Fourth place went to Rebecca Sebastian of New Jersey in 3:08:56, and rounding out the top five female marathoners was Elizabeth Arnott-Hill of Chicago in 3:11:38.

Just a side note on Swierzbinski’s second-place finish: the Wilmington racer was 13 seconds behind the leader Alnes at the four-and-a-half-mile split and fell behind by 1:15 at the 11-mile split. By the 22.5-mile split, Alnes was ahead by 2:47 over Swierzbinski, but in the final four miles, Swierzbinski closed fast, averaging 6:55 per mile for the final split to Alnes’ average of 7:25. At the finish, the difference was only 58 seconds.  

In the half-marathon race, it was Matthew Guenter of Boulder, Colo., winning in 1:11:44, while Connor Todd of Baltimore, Md., was second in 1:12:57 and Keith Lundquist of New Hampshire took third in 1:13:50. On the female side, Rachel Cluett of Garrett Park, Md., won in 1:23:56, while Erin Fitzgerald of Middletown was second in 1:24:27 and Colleen Buckley of New Jersey was third in 1:25:19. A total of 1,766 runners finished the half, while 861 finished the full.

Striders XC banquet

The annual Seashore Striders Youth Cross Country banquet was held at Cape Henlopen High School Dec. 6, with each member and family enjoying a dinner and awards affair. Coaches Jen Cawthern, Dan MacElrevey and Gavin Furlong assisted with presentation of season certificates, end-of-year awards and a final slideshow produced by coach Furlong. Jude Peacock won the Coaches Award, while Ruby Leps (1X), Kai Mundok (2X) and Nolan Furlong (4X) were honored for top 25 All-American finishes. Leps was also honored with the Comeback Kid Award after returning from a midseason knee injury. Chloe Cawthern was the Rising Star Award recipient and was also honored for the Performance of the Year at the Regional Championships. Quinn Peacock, Mundok and Furlong were also honored with Performance of the Year awards, while Allison Ortiz and Claudia Stazzone were honored with Leadership awards.

Run with Santa 5K

A record crowd of 300 is expected at the Run for Santa 5K Sunday, Dec. 10, in Lewes, starting from the main beach bathhouse parking lot in Cape Henlopen State Park at 10 a.m. Packet pickup will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. at the Hawk Watch Pavilion. The out-and-back course will go to the tower behind the campground and back. To register, go to See you at the starting line.


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