Think twice before running in poor air quality

June 9, 2023

On Thursday morning, I checked a cool site called It is one of the weather sites I check before races happen. Sussex County had a reading of 190, which is in the upper part of red alert, classified as unhealthy. A red alert means some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. A purple alert is the next level, which is classified as very unhealthy. It ranges from 201-300. A purple alert means the risk of health effects is increased for everyone. The maroon reading beginning at 301 is the highest alert. It means everyone is likely to be affected.

So what does this mean for runners? According to NBC, if the air quality reading is at 150 or above, runners should think twice about running outside for long periods of time, as it may be risky. Many doctors described it as swimming in polluted water. Because your lungs are not breathing in healthy air and will be taking in toxins, you may develop a cough or dryness and even get winded quicker after just 20 minutes of running. On Wednesday, New York City was at 340, making it the worst air quality in the world.

Local runner and respiratory therapist LuAnn Goldfarb offered the following information: “The poor air quality is hard on your whole body, causing inflammation and irritation to airways, heart and mucus membranes. Better to stay indoors on treadmills and other cardio equipment than risk future complications. If you need to go out, make sure to have your inhalers with you.” 

Greenwood mud run a success

Several years ago, the Seashore Striders hosted a mud run in Milton. It was a very popular local event that lasted two years. Then the property began a transformation into Twin Branch Winery. On June 3 at the Greenwood Mennonite School, the Striders again ventured into the land of mud runs with the Delmarva Dirt Dash 5K. A total of 176 clean participants left the start in eight waves. They were greeted by 28 challenges spaced out along the 3.1-mile course, ranging from tires to climbing over walls to mud pits to wooden swings over water. The race also had eight teams of four making up a team division, and more than 40 participants in the 12-14 and 15-19 age groups. The 176 participants set a new event record. The final challenge was a fire pit jump where flames were blazing from a 5-foot hole; participants made the jump and raced across the finish line. Changing tents for males and females, along with a fire truck hosing down the mud-drenched participants awaited finishers after they each received a medal. This is a tough 3.1 miles that saw only one broken ankle in the event and presented a real challenge for participants. I can easily see this race attracting more than 200 next year, and I challenge Striders runners at the beach to give it a try. 

Triple Crown Series

Just around the corner is the annual Seashore Striders Triple Crown Series comprising back-to-back-to-back events over three days and in three different towns. The series will begin Friday, June 16, with the 19th annual Georgetown Library 5K & 1-Mile Walk at 7 p.m. We will move to the inaugural 302 Uncorked 5K Saturday, June 17, at Hudson Fields in Milton with a 9 a.m. start. The final race of the series will be the 33rd annual Father’s Day 5K Sunday, June 18, in Rehoboth Beach starting from Zogg’s on Wilmington Avenue at 7:30 a.m.

Young Bamforth to teach

Recent graduate and my son Jake Bamforth has accepted a job teaching physical education and coaching cross country at Highland High School in Ault, Colo. Jake has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health and will work toward his teaching certificate this year. The town of Ault has a population of 1,800 and only 250 in the high school. The middle school and elementary schools are on the same campus located at the only stoplight in town and 22 miles from his home in Fort Collins. The cross country story reminds me of a mix between the documentary “Racing the Rez” and the movie “McFarland,” and as for Jake, he will make his own story with dedication to the classroom and his team. My only question is will he be Coach B or Mr. Bamforth?


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