Delaware Trail Marathon - Newark DE, 4/26/03.
Dave Weiss

Great trail route covering 2-loops through lovely woods and fields with one major "stream" crossing per loop. One runner said "they call that a river where I come from" and I agree. It was broad, fast and even a bit deep (calf high). The trail itself was reasonably wide with a decent surface, i.e., not a lot of rocks and roots. Hills were there, but they were not particularly daunting (no "Monster" climbs). Organization was outstanding with efficient registration/pick-up, a nice starting ceremony and well-staffed aid stations. So why did it take me 5:34 and change to finish? One word - MUD. It was everywhere. Rain was steady the night before and, as a result, the race site - "White Clay Recreation Area" turned into "Brown Mud Slip-and-Slide Fun Park". The course was two loops for the marathoners, one loop for the half-marathoners with the 10K and 5K runners also using parts of the same trail. In other words, by the second marathon loop it was a mess. I think I went down hill more slowly than up. And, I violated the first rule of trail running, namely "don't take your eyes off the trail". I let my mind wander off the footing as I planned a line through an aid station and adjacent road crossing at about mile 15. Down I went in a mud puddle that covered a bed of sharp rocks. When I got up I was covered in chocolate brown mud, both knees were cut and I had gashed my hand. In other words, I was a mess. I cleaned off most of the mud, but those superficial cuts bleed like crazy so soon one leg and my hand were covered in blood. It was ugly. I washed off at a small stream crossing a few miles down the trail and got to the next aid station looking only a bit ragged. The workers there were great about cleaning and bandaging me so I felt "like new" when I took off. I finished up strong and felt great (OK, sore and great). I even got back to Corning just in time for an unbelievable jazz concert by Steve Turre on Saturday evening. I highly recommend the Trail Dawgs run (and Steve Turre).