Race Recap: The Rehoboth Beach Marathon

Rehoboth Beach Marathon

In this episode Angie recaps the Rehoboth Beach Marathon in Delaware which was her 51st marathon. And in the quick tip segment, we share tips and gear recommendations for running in the cold.

Race Recap: The Rehoboth Beach Marathon

The 10th annual Rehoboth Beach Marathon and Half Marathon was held on December 2, 2017. The race website is kind of funky looking but they sent out very informative emails and had a very active FB page which included lots of restaurant recommendations.

The race gets excellent reviews on Marathon Guide. I found registration to be a bit on the expensive side. Even if you pre-register 10 months in advance the fee is $100 then it goes up to $160 the closer you get to race day. The half marathon prices range from $85-140.

Race Morning

Rehoboth Beach Marathon
My alarm went off at 5:30 am and I got ready with the gear I had laid out the night before. Trevor and the boys kindly drove me to the starting area. Fortunately there was very light traffic and about a 2.5 mile drive (less than 10 min) to get parked near the bandstand on Rehoboth Ave.

There is free parking in the downtown area and if you arrive early (around 6am) there will be plenty of spots. In the summer months they feature free concerts at the bandstand area which is right next to the beach.

I was able to get race morning packet pick up which was fast and easy (they also had packet pick up on Friday from 2-8pm). The race had gender specific shirts (black for the guys and lavender for the ladies) and we also got the after party wrist band (extras are available for $30 pre-purchase). I got my bib pinned on, sat in car for a while staying warm, and then Trev & boys left.

The unofficial gear check

There were some indoor bathrooms and a line of port-o-pots and the lines before 6:30 am weren’t bad. They had an unofficial bag check where you basically just dumped your stuff in an open bin and they transported it to the finish line.

While waiting for the race to start I saw the sun rise over the beach and ocean which was beautiful. The weather was clear and in the low 40’s. The race had pacing groups ranging from 3:00-5:30 for the marathon and half marathon pacing groups were from 1:40-3:00. Some runners were dressed up in holiday costumes (like Santa, holiday hats, ugly sweaters, a bear in a backpack, etc). There seemed to be many groups of friends together. After some pre-race announcements and the Star Spangled Banner the race started a couple minutes after 7am.

The Course

The town of Rehoboth Beach, DE is located on the mid-Atlantic coast, is at sea level and is the largest beach resort area in the state of Delaware. It has a year round population of around 1,500 people (which increases to over 20,000 during the summer months).

We ran down Rehoboth Ave by shops, through some residential areas for about a mile, and out of town down Ocean Drive with nice views of the sunrise over the ocean. Then the course continued out to the Gordon Pond Wildlife Area and Cape Henlopen State Park. This area had hard packed trails at around the 5k point through mile 8.

I saw Academy member Foti Panagakos at this point and we started running together. The State Park area has World War 2 bunkers and lookout towers from 1941 when the park was a military base. There are also beach views, coniferous trees, and marsh lands.

It was a very beautiful and peaceful section of the course with a few very minor hills. There seemed to be a nice mix of first time marathoners and those more seasoned like 50 Staters and Marathon Maniacs. The half marathon course split off around mile 9. Overall the course was well marked and there were volunteers at appropriate locations.

One thing that the course had was a couple long out and back sections which can sometimes be discouraging if you’re not prepared for them. Overall there were not a large amount of spectators except a few around aid stations and on some of the out and back areas.

Around mile 20 the course enters the Junction and Breakwater Trails (a former rail corridor) for a final out and back. I saw Bart Yasso around that point cheering. The area had state and country flags hung over the trail, music, and an announcer to liven things up. There is a slight incline from mile 22-25 but it wasn’t very noticeable.

After this trail section we head back into town to finish at 4th Street behind the Rehoboth Beach Running Company. Both the half and marathon have a time limit of 7 hours.

Aid Stations

The aid stations were located approximately every 2 miles and had water and sports drink. A couple also had gels and pickle juice. There was also an unofficial aid station candy stop and the Dairy Queen was handing out small ice creams at mile 10. There were port-o-pots located at the aid stations. For my fueling I used UCAN. I had a UCAN snack bar before the race and 2 servings of the mixture during the marathon which I took at pre-arranged intervals. My energy levels felt nice and solid, although I did enjoy a couple pieces of candy and some pickle juice during the race. Use the code MTA51 to save 15% on your Generation UCAN order.

Finish Area

Rehoboth Beach Marathon
At the finish line they gave out heat sheets, great medals (anchor/life preserver theme), water, sports drink, and chocolate milk. There was a large tent with the post race party and more post-race celebration at the top of Cultured Pearl Restaurant. Inside the tent there was a long line for Dogfish Head Brewery beer (you could have 3 total), there was a DJ doing music, and people singing and dancing. There was also an amazing food spread: waffles, sausage links, biscuits and gravy, hamburgers, veggie burgers, baked beans, mac & cheese, pasta salad, chips, sodas. Another great bonus is getting free race photos.

There were 945 marathon finishers and 1653 half marathon finishers. The male marathon winner was Jon Chesto with a time of 2:44:35. The female winner was Holly Smith with a time of 3:01:02.

My Experience

I enjoyed running with Foti for 13 miles and also interacting with other runners out on the course. I met a firefighter who had just run Philly the weekend before in his full fire gear. I saw a shirt that said,

“Slow and steady wins the race, unless you’re doing a real race.”

I always like observing clever race shirts and signs. The weather started in the mid-40’s and got up to the low 50’s with only a slight wind. It really was ideal running temps. I wore a throw away shirt that I got rid of around mile 2, light gloves from the Dollar Store, arm sleeves, capris, my Marathon Maniacs tank, Altra Escalantes, and my lucky hat.

After about 3 miles I took my gloves off and rolled my arm sleeves down mid-race (but pulled them up again toward the last couple of miles in some wind).

My hip flexors and hamstrings were feeling very tight and I stopped to squat down and stretch a couple times (which always prompts runners to inquire whether you’re all right).

My mantra after mile 18 was inspired by an Academy member named Courtney and it was,

“This is fun, this is fun, pain is a liar.”

After some rest time in the afternoon our family got together with Foti and Judy at Chesapeake and Maine (a seafood place by Dogfish Head Brewery).

The next day we stopped by the Delaware State Capitol.

With my oldest son.

Also Mentioned in the Episode

Running in the Cold

At pretty much every race you run you’ll see runners in a huge variety of clothing options. As someone who typically runs a little warm during races I’m always amazed at people bundled up with weather that’s 50 degrees or warmer. At Rehoboth Beach I saw everything from shorts and singlets to one man who had literally covered himself from head to toe (with only his eyes showing) for the race.

One key is to start to learn how your body reacts to various weather conditions and dress appropriately. And remember that if you’re warm at the start (not counting those throw away layers) then you’re probably going to overheat quickly. You’ll often hear the advice to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer. And when in doubt be sure to wear layers that can easily be removed or discarded.

Gear Recommendations from the MTA community:

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Shout Out

I had a pretty decent day at San Antonio today. I ran 3:32:58 and amazingly, I was third in my AG, which has never happened before, so it must have been OK. I’ve learned so much from Coach Steven in the past 6 months, and I kept his advice in my mind, and I think that’s what helped me to have a decent start and not completely fall apart in the end. All I can say is “thanks” — it’s been very challenging, but so much fun. -Mitch G.

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