Seashore Marathon invades Rehoboth Beach

December 1, 2023

The Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon and Half Marathon comes to town this weekend with a nearly sold-out event of 3,027 runners. The 16th annual event will kick off at 7 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, from the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand. Some 900 full marathoners and 2,100 half marathoners will toe the line for the event. The event will be represented by 47 States and Washington, D.C. Hotels are full, restaurants will be full, and thousands of folks will be running and raising money for several nonprofit charities that the Rehoboth Beach Running Company and Seashore Striders support.

The course, a Boston Marathon qualifier, will follow Rehoboth Avenue off the Bandstand starting line to State Road and run through the Country Club Estates development and along Silver Lake to the south end of the Boardwalk on Queen Street and the two-mile mark. The addition of the Boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean was one course change I felt runners from many states would enjoy and the feedback was positive. The course makes its way north to North Shores and into Cape Henlopen State Park at Gordons Pond and the 4.5-mile water stop. From this point, the race splits, with the marathon heading north to Lewes and the half heading back toward Rehoboth.

The marathon will then take in an out-and-back 13.1 miles going north on the Gordons Pond Trail past Herring Point, the Biden Center and Fort Miles, and remain on the trail and exit the park at the west side of Cape Henlopen Drive on the new trail. The runners will remain on the trail to the turnaround just before Freeman Highway and across from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. After the turnaround, the course will follow the same route back to Gordons Pond just past the 17-mile mark. From this point, the marathon will follow the half marathon course.

Where the half marathon turns around, the course for both races takes runners back toward Rehoboth Beach on Ocean Drive and onto Henlopen Avenue for a straight fast-and-flat mile to Grove Park, where the course takes runners onto the trail along the canal and onto Rehoboth Avenue Extended up to Canal Crossing Road and Hebron Road. The course heads toward the Junction and Breakwater Trail, crossing over Holland Glade Road and the eight-mile mark for the half and the 21-mile mark for the full. Once on the trail, the course goes out and back to the Wolfe Neck turnaround and popular Flag Alley. On the return, the course crosses Holland Glade Road on the south trail closer to Epworth Church and goes through the Wizard of Oz section on the wooded trail exiting behind the car wash on Hebron Road. Once on Hebron, it goes back to Canal Crossing Road and onto Rehoboth Avenue Extended, through Grove Park and onto Henlopen Avenue for the final half-mile. The course takes a slight right at Gerar Street and crosses over Columbia Avenue onto Fourth Street for the final quarter mile. Spectators should have a great look at their loved ones heading to the finish line on Fourth Street between Kent and Sussex streets.

Marathon facts

There will be nine water stops on the course using 500 gallons of water, 90 cases of Powerade and 28,000 cups. There will be six viewing locations: Boardwalk and Rehoboth Avenue at 2.5 miles; Gordons Pond at 4.5/17.6 miles; Herring Point at 7.1/15.1 miles; Fort Miles at 8.3/14 miles; Grove Park at 19.7/25.7 miles; Wolfe Neck Road turnaround at 22.6 miles.

There will be 10 different agencies and hundreds of volunteers working hard to provide runners from at least 40 states a positive half-marathon and marathon experience in the Nation’s Summer Capital of Rehoboth Beach. The event is organized by the Rehoboth Beach Running Company and Seashore Striders with Marybeth Evans as race organizer and Tim Bamforth as race director.

The History                                                                                   

In 2008, we hosted the first event in late November with a surprise turnout of 433 in the marathon braving a cold morning after snow and ice fell overnight. In 2009, we attracted 511 to the event, again held in late November. In 2010, both organizers had a conflict with the date, so we decided to move it to early December, and it proved to be a great decision, as 959 finishers crossed the line. With the marathon now basically being 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 so well. In 2011, we again set a record by having 1,304 cross the line on Rehoboth Avenue, while the 2012 race attracted 1,685. In 2013, the marathon increased by nearly 200 runners to go along with the popular half-marathon distance. In 2014, we had 1,302 half finishers and 891 full finishers for just under 2,200 total runners. For the past five years, the numbers have continued to increase, and we’re now nearing the 3,000 mark. This year we are sold out at 3,000 participants.  Moving the event in 2010 to early December proved to be a good decision, and the weather becomes our only concern.

Finish line

Race organizers are asking spectators and family members not to park along any part of the course, including Cape Henlopen Drive in Lewes as well as Hebron and Holland Glade roads near Rehoboth Beach.


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