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Race Results

Rehoboth Beach Marathon Recap

by Mick Close

I promised to send out a longer recap about this marathon that I ran on December 10th since it’s not one that too many people have run. I’ve mostly done the big city marathons in the past like New York. Boston and LA but I must admit there are many advantages to running a smaller marathon like this and I would highly recommend Rehoboth Beach.

It was a last minute decision to run after finishing Philly with my daughter in 4:22 and wanting to see if I could break 4 hours for the marathon again. Luckily this is one of the few marathons that doesn’t close out early and I was still able to register the week before the race although for a small race it still had a rather large registration fee of $120 plus a $9 processing fee.

The race was on a Saturday so we had to drive down on the Friday. It wasn’t too exciting going down the Turnpike and across Delaware past the Dover Air Force Base but it was all highway and only took about four hours. The ferry from Cape May to Lewes is another option but there’s a limited schedule in the off season and we couldn’t work it into our plans.

Catherine and I had never been to Rehoboth Beach so we weren’t sure what to expect although several people had told us how much they liked it. It’s advertised as a beautiful small town featuring enjoyable year round weather, clean beaches, boardwalk, recreational activities, great restaurants and tax free shopping. We certainly weren’t disappointed even though some places were closed for the season. We would have liked to stay a few days longer than the one night we had planned.

We had managed to book into one of the host hotels at the last minute and were very happy to find it was the perfect choice for the race. The registration tent and finish line were right outside the hotel next to the Rehoboth Beach Running Company. The start was just a couple of blocks walk down the street at the bandstand by the boardwalk. There was also an Italian Restaurant in the hotel where we ate pasta the night before the race, a Starbucks next to the hotel and the Dogfish Head brew pub right across the street.

The race started at 7:00 am on the Saturday just as dawn was breaking. They say they sometimes have a spectacular sunrise over the ocean but no such luck this year. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed at the start of a marathon since it was just a two minute walk from the hotel, there was no waiting around and no worries about porta potties, bag checks, corrals, etc. The start was a little crowded with about 700 runners in the marathon and another 700 in the half marathon but they had chip timing and there was no problem settling into your pace.

The course started with a 5 mile loop in Rehoboth Beach before heading out of the town on an out and back route to the town of Lewes past the ferry terminal and around Henlopen State Park. It was very diverse with with some of it in the town, some in the country, some on trails, some in the state park and some by the ocean It was mostly flat with a few gentle rolling hills in the state park during the middle part of the race. Most of the race was on the roads or a paved trail in the state park but there was also a section of several miles going out and coming back on a dirt/gravel trail. The half marathon followed the same course for about 9 miles before turning around back to the finish.

The temperature at the start was about 40 degrees going up to about 45 degrees at the finish, fairly typical for this race. There was a rather gusty wind that kicked up from time to time and was in our face going out but at our back coming back. Some people really complained about the wind but I didn’t feel it was much of a factor.

The organization was excellent with water/gatorade stops every 1 – 2 miles and plenty of enthusiastic volunteers. There weren’t many spectators except at the start and finish with only occasional pockets of people cheering on the runners. It felt more like you were running a local road race than a marathon. We had seen Susan De Roberts at packet pickup and it was fun to run with her for a few miles during the later stages of the race. I mentioned to her it was my 4th marathon of the year and she responded it was her 18th!

This was one of those days when everything seems to work out and it was my best marathon in a couple of years. I was very happy to finish in 3:48:31 without ever really hitting the wall, just slowing down slightly the last few miles. I’m not sure I will run Boston again but it was nice to get another BQ. After the race there was a nice post race party right at the finish in a warm tent with free beer and lots of food including pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and burgers (meat and veggie).

The race web site is at <> and Marathon Guide has a lot of comments about this race if you’d like more information at <>. The comments are nearly all favorable except for the lack of spectators. This year’s race is on Dec. 8 if you’re interested. I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Photo Highlights

Photos on flickr

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