The Delaware Trail Marathon

Note to 50-Staters:  There has been no road marathon in Delaware for the last few years, so we had a number of 50-state marathoners in the 2003 Triple Crown who earned their Delaware marathon finish the hard way!  This year Wayne Kursh is organizing a 4-lap road marathon in Wilmington, scheduled for Sunday, May 16, 2004, so if you're a dedicated roadie who would really prefer pounding pavement to get your Delaware marathon done, check out the Dri-Release Delaware Marathon

In response to various questions we are receiving from marathoners:

Getting to Newark, Delaware: (pronounced "New Ark," not to be confused with "Noork," NJ):  Take Delaware I-95 to Exit 1 (896 north).  The University of Delaware and downtown Newark are a mile or two up Rt. 896 (aka South College Ave.) from I-95.

The nearest major airports are Philadelphia (50 minutes north on I-95) and Baltimore/Washington (about 75 minutes south).  You can get a limo to Newark from either airport, but you'll be much better off with a rental car, since Newark has minimal local public transportation.  Wilmington (New Castle County) Airport does not have commerical airline service.  There is limited Amtrak and SEPTA rail service to Newark, but no regular taxi service from the rail station.

Accommodations:  Newark's hotels are mostly clustered near the Rt. 896/I-95 interchange.  The local Howard Johnson's is offering a discounted room rate for TC participants.

Getting to the race start:  The marathon will start promptly at 7:30 AM from the pavilion at the W.S. Carpenter Recreation Area of White Clay Creek State Park, approximately 2 miles north of downtown Newark on Rt. 896.  Newark's hotels are clustered 1-2 miles south of town. You will need to make your own arrangements for getting to the park on time.

If you are staying in a local hotel and have a car, please consider giving other runners a lift to the race if you can accommodate them.  Let your hotel's front desk know how many extra people you can take.   If you don't have a car, contact your hotel's front desk and try to catch a ride with someone else.  

What to expect:  Since this is a small event with a low registration fee, we are trying to keep things simple.  There is no packet pickup prior to race day, no gauntlet of vendors, no pre-race expo.  Claim your packet at the registration table on the morning of the race.  You can even register for the marathon 6-7AM on race day.  There is no "official" pre-race pasta banquet, but there are lots of good restaurants on Newark's Main St.  

This is a trail marathon, so you should expect more difficult terrain and a slower finish time than you would expect in a road marathon.  By trail-race standards, however, this is easy terrain.  The course will be well marked with spray chalk on the ground, survey flags through meadow areas, and multiple arrow signs to clarify turns at trail junctions.  The course is two circuits around the Triple Crown half-marathon course.  The 13.1-mile circuit has 6 water/traffic control stations, so you will pass each of these twice, plus the start/finish area at the midpoint of the race, for a total of 13 aid points.  The start/finish area will have an array of snacks, but the other aid stations will have water only.  If you require sports drink, energy gels or whatever, carry your own.  You can re-stock at the mid-point.

The half-marathon course fords White Clay Creek at mile 10; marathoners will revisit this crossing at mile 23.  The water crossing is about 80 yards across, ankle- or calf-deep, and footing is slippery in spots.  We recommend that you keep your shoes on in the creek.  Wet or damp shoes should not be much of a problem (you have run in the rain before, haven't you?).

This marathon is held simultaneously with the traditional Triple Crown race series, and will share some of the same trails.  Please yield to runners in other races.  The half-marathon will start simultaneously with the marathon.  The 10K will start at 10AM in the opposite direction, so if you are approaching the half-way point more than two and a half hours after the start, you will encounter 10K runners coming the other way on trail--please give them the right of way!  The 5K will start at 11:15AM in the same direction as the marathon circuit.  You would only encounter these runners on the portion of the course west of White Clay Creek.

If you expect to take more than 5 hours to complete this marathon, please tell the marathon coordinator at the registration table before the race start.  He/she will be keeping track of all marathoners on the course, and will keep the marathon clock going as long as there are runners on the course.  There is no official cut-off time, although runners finishing after 1PM may miss the BBQ.  If you quit the race before finishing, it is very important that you tell the marathon coordinator so that we don't send out unnecessary search parties for runners who simply went home.

Note that all other course volunteers will leave their water/traffic control stations at noon.  After that time, water on course will be self-serve, road crossings will no longer have traffic control, and you will be solely responsible for getting yourself to the finish.

Your race registration (it's only $35) gets you lots of scenery, snacks, TLC from our church volunteers, and a post-race BBQ for those finishing within 6 hours.   Race T-shirts are $10 extra, available to pre-registered runners only.  We will have very few additional shirts to sell on race day.

If you have further questions, please e-mail me: johnmack@udel.edu.  Hope to see you the last Saturday in April!

--John Mackenzie