Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Delaware Marathon Running Festival as part of being a BibRave Pro. As always, all opinions are my own! Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave to review find and write race reviews!”
Happy Tuesday! We don’t have a particular topic for this week’s Tuesday Topics. Since it’s a “FREE” you can write about any running related topic. Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida and the bottom of this post! Today I am sharing my Delaware Marathon Running Festival (Half Marathon) race recap!
On Sunday I participated in the Delaware Marathon Running Festival (Half Marathon). This ended up being my 40th half marathon. It was also state #12 on my quest to run in 25 states.
This race series offers a 5K, Highmark Kid’s Fun Run, Half Marathon, Marathon and 4-Person Marathon Relay – basically something for everyone! If I do this race again next year I’d love to do the 4-person relay with friends.
My mom and I arrived in Wilmington around 1:00 pm. We had a very uneventful Amtrak ride (just how I like it) and we were able to check into our room right away. After dropping off our suitcases, we headed back downstairs to the lobby to go to the Expo. While small, it was very well organized and we were able to get our bibs and shirts within minutes.
After the expo, my mom and I met up with one of my Instagram friends, Melorie. We’ve been friends on IG for years but never met in person. Luckily she lives in Wilmington and was able to pick us up at our hotel and head over to a great restaurant for lunch. It was delicious and it was nice to finally meet her in person! Unfortunately we didn’t take any photos, #bloggerfail! Zenaida and I grabbed dinner in the hotel restaurant. It was nice to meet up and chat before all the craziness of race day. I finally got to bed around 10:00 pm which was good considering I had a 5:15 wake up for Sunday morning!
Zenaida, my mom and I left the hotel around 6:20. We had a nice easy walk down to the race start (it was about a 10-15 minute walk). The weather was great (55 degrees) and NO RAIN! We took a few photos and then we were off to start the race!
Before I go into my description of the race, here’s a look at the course:
The race started and ended at Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park.
Although I liked the course overall, I thought the first three miles were a little bit weird. We spent some time running through a shopping center and also a few parking lots. Because of those areas, some sections on this part of the course were very narrow. This is the only time when the race course felt crowded. On the flip side, we did get to run on the Riverwalk Path during this part of the race – it was beautiful!
At mile 4, we crossed the bridge over the river at King Street. This section of the race took part through Brandywine Park and past the Brandywine Zoo. While pretty, I could have done without the zoo smells at this point, lol. Once we hit mile 6, I knew this was where the first real hills started. It was pretty much a gradual uphill from mile 6-7. There was a good amount of run/walk intervals at this point. I didn’t want to push too hard since this was only the mid-way point of the race and I knew I would need energy around mile 10 (that’s when I tend to need a boost)!
Around mile 7 we headed toward Bancroft Parkway. At mile 7.5 we were greeted with an aid station AND Dunkin Donuts munchkins! I was looking forward to this stop for the entire race. I didn’t want to risk any stomach issues so I just took one munchkin donut – it was delicious! We then did a loop through some neighborhoods (with beautiful homes!) and headed toward 9th street. This was another out and back section and then we proceeded back over the Parkway.
Miles 10-12 were nice because it was back to flat areas with a few downhills mixed in. Then at the start of mile 12 we ran on King Street, and hit another hill (yikes). I tried my best to do a quick powerwalk. After a few minutes we finally hit the downhill and then it was smooth sailing to the finish line!
While we did run in some industrial areas, the majority of the course was very pretty (especially running in the park) and we did get to see some areas of downtown Wilmington.
After the race we took a few more photos:
After heading back to the hotel to shower and finish packing, we headed over to Chelsea Tavern for brunch to celebrate.
With any race, there are always pros and cons.
There were MANY pros to this race!
I was SUPER impressed with all of the pre-race communication. Not only did I get numerous emails, but the race was very active and posted tons of information/updates on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. In addition to updates, they also provided a Runner Handbook via email a week before the race. The handbook basically outlines everything you would need to know for the race – race start times, race course, expo details, start/end location, parking, deadlines (registration and distance switch) and how to sig up for free race photos and runner tracking.
Race Aid Stations
There were 7 aid stations on the half marathon course. Each aid station had water and Gatorade and two of those aid stations also had GU, bananas and Utz salty snacks. There were also Dunkin Donut munchkins available at mile 7.5. I definitely took advantage of these options considering I forgot to bring running fuel! Luckily I didn’t need to use any of these items, but some of the aid stations also had self-aid boxes with band-aids, Vaseline, and feminine hygiene products.
Wilmington is an easy city to get to via car or train. Also you can fly into Philadelphia and then either take a shuttle bus or drive to Wilmington. There’s also plenty of parking available for anyone that drives to the race. The hotel was conveniently located a half a mile away from the race start/finish which was the perfect distance for a pre and post race walk. It was so easy to get around, which is just what you want/need when traveling to another state to race!
I guess this would be considered a mid-size race? The race was capped at 3,000 runners for all of the events. I felt it was a nice size because the course didn’t feel overly crowded but I was never alone on the course.
I asked my mom how she liked the runner tracking and she gave it two thumbs up. She said it was very accurate and that the predicted finish time they gave me was right on target.
After crossing the finish line, there were tables with cups of Gatorade and bottles of water. I grabbed one of each as I sweated like crazy during the race (which was odd because it wasn’t super humid or hot). At the next table they had various fruits – bananas, oranges and apples, in addition to granola bars and UTZ snacks (I grabbed a banana, granola bar and a bag of the UTZ party mix). After entering the festival area I found the beer tent and picked up a can of the Dogfish Slighty Mighty beer (I liked it but my mom wasn’t a fan) and also grabbed a small slice of pizza before heading back to the hotel. I was satisfied with all of the options.
Medal and Age Group Awards
I absolutely love the race medal!
In addition, my mom will receive the below in the mail next month since she was 2nd in her age group for the 5K. Not only will it be engraved, but it’s a key chain and a bottle opener!
FREE Race Photos
Need I say more about this awesome perk?!?! It’s pretty nice not to pay an arm and a leg for race photos. Here are some of my favorites:
There were also a few cons to the race as well..
Luckily the Expo was in the same hotel that we were staying at, but it was rather small. It was well organized but unfortunately there weren’t many vendors 🙁 Because I forgot my running fuel I was hoping to buy a Honey Stinger gel, or any kind of gel, at the expo.
There were no pacers for the race. This didn’t bother me as I wasn’t running with a particular time in mind but it might matter to others, especially if you’re aiming for a PR.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this race, especially if you’re looking to do a race in Delaware. Hope you enjoyed this race recap!
Want another perspective? Check out reviews of the race from my fellow BibRave Pros!
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