Smiley and the Smiler win CoDel marathon titles

April 16, 2024

The irony and the agony - On Sunday morning, I worked the happy trails of the Coastal Delaware Running Festival marathon course, catching lead runners at the five-mile mark at Herring Point then at 22 miles along the Junction & Breakwater Trail near Wolfe Neck. Most race ordering, no matter how long the distance, sorts itself out in the first two minutes. Dylan Smiley, 25, who is not a smiler, separated himself from the field and cruised past me at five miles saying, “Hi, Fred.” Later, Catherine Irons, 22, pressed by me wearing a happy-to-be-in-the-world smile. Catherine trailed Kaitlyn Minchella, 32, and was still behind her at the 22-mile mark. Smiley stayed in front, winning in 2:35:14.6. Ben Sandie, 29, was second in 2:38:23. Smiling Catherine threw down the last four miles to win the women’s title in 3:08:39. Minchella was second woman overall in 3:11:39.1.

Overall slow - There were 900 runners in the Saturday morning CoDel 5K, but only the top 17 broke 20 minutes. Another way to look at it is the top 188 finishers ran faster than a 9-minute mile pace, which is considered a real running pace that precludes incessant storytelling or listening to plot lines that last 18 minutes. Sandie, the marathon runner-up, won the 5K in 16:13; he was not pushed as strollers were not allowed in the race. Gab Mangino, 29, a Jersey girl, was the first woman in 20:03. Paul Lenz, 89, of Milton won the 80-and-over age group in 41:09.

Fleet feet - Trolling into the vast ocean in a wide-beamed boat stocked with fishing rods, bait lures, GPS navigation and fish finders seems more intense than relaxing. I never got the fleet mentality. If everyone is going after the same school, it is a sort of affirmative action for anglers. Runners are the same. Anyone can roll out the front door and commence running, so what is the desire to run with a pack of 30,000 steppers and sliders in the Boston Marathon? In that respect, I find fleet fishing and races that attract thousands are related in some strange way. “The Old Man and the Sea” starring Spencer Tracy and “Forrest Gump” featuring Tom Hanks are exceptions – the old man fished alone and Forrest just went out and ran by himself.

Play-in tournament - There are 20 NBA teams that make the playoffs but four will be eliminated in the play-in round, so the real playoffs, which begin Saturday, April 20, feature 16 teams, including eight from each conference. It’s best to print out a bracket and secure it to your refrigerator door with a pink crab magnet. We have some strange magnets in my house.    

Hudson Fields - Thank the Hudsons for Hudson Fields. It’s such a great venue and community resource. I have no idea how it all works. What am I, a forensic economist? I was out there Saturday morning to watch the Atlantic Lacrosse U12 boys play Smyrna. Bring a chair, but good luck finding a place to put it. The Smyrna posse was there in full force cheering hits and ground balls, but they scored no goals as Atlantic won 11-0. And then there was a B game and everyone stayed the duration, except Susan and I, who were there to support James Fred, who volunteered to play goalie in the B game – or what some novice parents call “goldie.” I took photos but there was no numbered roster, just like some high schools.The Smyrna High School boys’ team is 6-0 and the girls are 6-0. A collision with Cape will occur Friday, April 26, at Smyrna for the boys’ game and Wednesday, May 8, at Smyrna for the girls. 

Snippets - I’m ready to rock down to Electric Avenue and enjoy the local system of interconnected trails and bike loops, which happened after my running and walking days gave way to chairs and barstools. But I read that many walkers, runners and pedal-power bikers don’t like electric bikers, so I’ll let it slide. Cape’s baseball (9-0) and girls’ lacrosse (7-0) are both undefeated. Baseball has a big game Thursday, April 18, at Sussex Tech. The Ravens are 6-1. Their only loss came April 6 in a 2-1 defeat to Queen Anne’s County. Tiger Woods, who finished last at the Masters for those who made the cut, made $39,000 for his four rounds of golf. Go on now, git! 


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