This Delaware Marathon Review gives the reader a thorough synopsis and overview of the only certified marathon course in the state of Delaware. Run along the scenic Christiana River and through parts of historic Wilmington, the Delaware Marathon continues to grow in popularity from year to year. And because of its status as the state’s sole marathon, it attracts marathon runners from all over the country in the 50 States Club.
From the race start at Blue Rock’s Frawley Stadium through multiple loop course, this review will guide you through the course, race day details, and give you a perspective of the run to help you evaluate and plan your race day in Delaware.
Delaware is one of the flattest states in the union and therefore boasts of the flattest marathon courses in the country! It’s a popular marathon for many runners to achieve a Boston Qualifying time or a great fast race to get a PR!
Below is the Delaware Marathon Review grade sheet followed by a description of the race loops and the scenery that you’ll be running through. Hopefully, these details will help paint a good mental picture of the experience so that you can plan and visualize your successful race.
- Expo / Health Fair: A
While I usually pick up my packet on race-day morning, the health fair tent on race day is spectacular. Christiana Healthcare does a terrific job with goodies and entertainment in this circus tent. It’s a good place to walk it off after the race while picking up some nice promotional items, as well. I still run with their blinking LED reflective lights on my morning runs which they hand out at the fair…great freebie!
- Race Start: A
If you’ve ever run a race with 20,000 runners, you’ll really appreciate running one with just 600. There are plenty of Port-O-Johns and while there is always a line 15-30 minutes before the start…it’s a manageable one. The race start is quick and fluid and the difference between your chip-time (using Lin-Marks ankle band) and official “gun time” is minimal.
- Race Day Temperature: B
One of the few downsides of this race is that the heat can creep up on you by mid-race. Run in the middle-end of May, the temperatures usually start out in the 50s early in the morning and can climb into the 70s by the race’s finish. Much of the race is along tree-lined paths, but the heat is still a factor for those going for a personal best (PR!).
- Course Elevation (Hills?!): A
Aside from running along a beach road or on a track, this race is as close to flat as it gets. There are some slight dips and inclines, but nothing that should break your spirits. Given the consistent elevation of this course, it’s a nice race to stay on a steady pace without the mental interruption of changing stride length for hills.
- The Crowd: B+
The loop-style format of this race makes it a spectator-friendly course. The race starts, finishes, and goes around the Frawley Stadium parking lot 3 times which is a great crowd party spot…and a huge motivational boost for the runners as we pass through it. Crowds on the other parts of the course are spotty, but you’ll find some cheering sections along the river walk path, in the city of Wilmington, and there are even a few live bands to keep you going as well. Another nice touch that’s unique to this race is the string of personalized signs along the course with individual runner’s names.
- Race Organization: A
Being a smaller marathon, there is definitely a more personal touch with nice open water stations and a great post-race refreshment tent! Where else can you eat a full lunch, complete with pizza, ice cream, beer, soda, etc… From race packet pick-up to water / aid stations to the award ceremony, this race is extremely well run.
- The Scenery: B
The course in 2007 was changed to include a longer initial loop along the Brandywine River and though the park. This was a change for the better and makes the first 10 miles a bit nicer. The remaining loops include a stretch along the Christina River, which is also nice. The Industrial Park portion of the loops is nothing to rave about, but out of the 26.2 miles most of the race is fairly scenic and enjoyable.
- Race Value: A
Runners get an awful lot for their entry fee in this race. From the vendor freebies in the race pack to the high-quality finisher medal and post-race party, you definitely get your money’s worth at the Delaware Marathon.
- Overall Delaware Marathon Experience: A
This race is a very well run race with all of the individualized attention that a small race provides. And while it doesn’t have the hype, pomp and circumstance that you might get from a big city marathon event, the Delaware Marathon will be a fun & memorable experience, and with a fast, flat course it may just become the spot where you ran your PR!
Delaware Marathon Course Description
The Delaware Marathon is made up of 4 loops. The 1st lap is 10 miles and laps 2-4 are 5.4 miles each. The first loop crosses the Brandywine River and takes you up along North Park Drive and through a nice wooded area, across a small foot bridge and back through the other side of the river on South Park Drive. You’ll then head back towards Frawley Stadium (Start / Finish) to start the first of three 5.4 mile loops.
Laps 2-4 take you out along the nice Christiana River walk behind the Shipyard shops all the way through Christiana Park and out onto the streets of Wilmington. This loop has a turn-around point in the Wilmington Industrial Park (past the Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard). And while there are very few spectators on this part of the course, the fact that the race doubles back on itself gives you a chance to see all the runners in the race multiple times which can be fun (good mental diversion…and chance to cheer for fellow runners).
Whether you’re looking for a Boston-qualifier or just looking for a fun, flat race, consider adding the Delaware Marathon to your list. It’s an event that’s sure to please runners & spectators, alike. They do limit their field of runners and have sold out in years past…so don’t wait too long to register. To register, visit the Delaware Marathon homepage. Happy Running!