Seashore Marathon invades the beach with 3,000 runners expected

December 1, 2017

Record numbers are signed up for the upcoming Seashore Marathon set for Saturday, Dec. 2, beginning at 7 a.m. from the Rehoboth Bandstand. As of Wednesday evening, the latest count was about 1,100 in the full marathon and 1,900 in the half marathon, a new record total of 3,000 runners for the event. Nearly 50 states will be represented in the race, with nine agencies providing safety on the course, 10 water stops to hydrate the runners with more than 40,000 cups, and more than 100 volunteers on the course supporting the race.  

The history

In 2008, we hosted the inaugural event in late November with a surprise turnout of 433 in the marathon. Those who ran braved a cold morning with snow and ice falling overnight.

In 2009, we attracted 511 to the event, also held in late November under cool, sunny skies. 

In 2010, both organizers had a conflict with the date, so we decided to move it to early December. It proved to be a great decision, as 959 finishers crossed the line.

With the Rehoboth Marathon now being essentially the last in the fall season, it gives runners a chance to come back and redeem themselves from a race in the fall that did not go well, like the popular Marine Corps, New York or Philadelphia marathons. 

In 2011, we again set a record by having 1,304 cross the line on Rehoboth Avenue, and the number rose again in 2012 to 1,685 participants.   

In 2013, we picked up many runners who competed in the Marine Corps and New York City races, with more than 2,000 crossing the line.

In 2014, the race totaled 2,200 with the finish just outside the Rehoboth Beach Running Company on 4th Street. 

In 2015, we adjusted the finish line to give us more space for the post-race celebration, as 2,500 runners finished the course.

Last year, the marathon increased by nearly 200 runners, hitting 2,700. The popular half-marathon distance attracted more female than male runners on the course.

Moving the event to early December proved to be a good decision, and the weather becomes our only concern.

Course preview

The runners will leave the Bandstand at 7 a.m. and run five miles in the town of Rehoboth and through North Shores. Half-marathon runners will turn around at Gordons Pond before making thier way out of Rehoboth by way of Columbia Avenue, Grove Park, and onto the Junction & Breakwater Trail to head north to Lewes. Runners in the half-marathon will turn around on the trail just before reaching the Hawkseye development and head back to Rehoboth Beach. Once on Rehoboth Avenue and in the final mile of the race, runners head down Columbia Avenue to Kent Avenue and into the finish corral on 4th Street, where hundreds of spectators will await their arrival.

The marathon continues around Gordons Pond and heads north to Lewes through Cape Henlopen State Park, running through Herring Point, Fort Miles and out the entrance of the park onto Cape Henlopen Drive. While inside the park, runners will pass two lookout towers and climb the great dune lookout before exiting and heading toward Lewes Beach. Once on Cape Henlopen Drive, runners will loop the Lewes Beach parking lot and pass by locals’ favorite Dairy Queen of Lewes, where samples will be handed out to runners by the Diehl duo of Landon and Ally.

The runners will then head back into Cape Henlopen State Park toward the campground, Herring Point and back to Gordons Pond. From Gordons Pond at the 16-mile mark, the marathoners will follow the half course to the Junction & Breakwater trail and on to the finish.

Viewing/cheering locations

1. The Grove Park at the 5-mile point will be an excellent location to catch the early action in the race or the late action in the final mile of the course. Plenty of parking on site.                          

2. The Wolf Neck Road parking area, better known as the Wawa Road off Route 1, will be another prime location, as runners make their way along the Junction & Breakwater Trail and into Lewes at the 8-mile mark for the half and 23-mile mark for the marathon. Plenty of parking on site with a state park parking lot and restroom.                 

3. Georgia Beach, just south of Lewes Beach, will be a great location and a definite point in the race where runner encouragement is needed, as they pass the 10-mile mark on Cape Henlopen Drive. Plenty of parking.                                                                                       

4. Cape Henlopen State Park at Fort Miles. This is deep in the state park at the 7-mile marker and a bit of a hilly section where encouragement would be helpful. Park entrance fees are in effect, and there is plenty of parking at Fort Miles.

Race note

Seashore Marathon organizers are asking spectators and family members to stay off Cape Henlopen Drive from 8 to 11 a.m. in Lewes due to traffic and runners on the shoulder. Cars will not be allowed to pull over on Cape Henlopen Drive.