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As I typically do, I’ll sum up this race recap in three phrases—slowwwww, pseudo hills, and rain! I ran the Delaware Marathon Running Festival full on Sunday, April 28, 2019. I ran the half back in 2017 (read my race recap here), so I thought I knew what to expect. I almost miss having this race traditionally on Mother’s Day, but hey, now I can sleep in this year!
I had been weather-stalking for at least four days before the race, and as is typical of Delaware weather in April, it rained a ton several days before the race. In past years, the race expo has been outside at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, but Corrigan Races finally smartened up and starting holding the expo indoors at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Downtown Wilmington. My mom was in town visiting from New Hampshire (hi, Mom!), so hubs, the AK, my mom, and I all went to the expo on Saturday morning around 11:30 a.m. Since the expo was so spread out across the park in years past, I didn’t know how it would feel in a hotel setting.
It was very small but efficient in terms of getting my bib and shirt quickly. And the long-sleeve Under Armour tech shirt is awesome quality! Corrigan had to change the shirt colors rather close to race day for some reason, so I’m a little bummed that this is a white shirt (because I’m accident prone and already spilled ice cream on it, whoops!), but hey, I can’t complain there! The fact that I even knew that goes to show that the race communication was on point. Kudos to Corrigan there!
I didn’t purchase anything at the expo, although I would have if I had seen any nuun or GU available. I unfortunately got there much earlier than the other BibRave Pros, so I didn’t get to meet anyone pre-race
I did, however, love the fact that they had a professional photographer at the race expo taking pictures for FREE! You could sign up before the race to receive a notification via email or text when your free photos were available, and I definitely took advantage of that.
After the expo, we went to the Brandywine Zoo for a little bit too, which was fun. (The AK got to brush a goat!)
The night before the race, we had some delicious pesto chicken pasta courtesy of hubs, I laid out my not-so-flat runner, and I went to bed around 10 p.m. I of course had my BibRave t-shirt and visor ready, my Brooks Ghost 11s, my Feetures socks (not my lucky orange ones, because for the life of me I couldn’t find them), my Handful The Closer bra, my AfterShokz Trekz Air wireless headphones, and my Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro.
Hubs and I woke up on race morning around 4:30 a.m. We tip-toed downstairs so as to not wake up my mom or the AK, got ready, and were out the door miraculously by about 5:15 a.m. (I told hubs the night before that we should leave around 5:30 a.m.) I wanted to get there no later than thirty minutes before race start, and we had the typical hour-long drive into Wilmington. I also wasn’t sure how close we could get to the race start in terms of street parking, so I’m glad we left a little bit earlier than planned.
We didn’t hit any traffic on the way into Wilmington, but we did experience the massive road closures in the city due to the race. We ended up parking not far from the DoubleTree and walked to Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park. I was so glad that I brought my BibRave hoodie with me, because I was shivering and cold as we walked to the start, despite it being 55 degrees. (Am I no longer of hearty New England ilk?!)
I of course found a porta-potty right away, and then we walked around the park a little bit. I wanted to take a picture in front of the Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty inflatable beer car (life goal complete!) and a picture at the race start. (Now that I write this post, I realize that I’ve been calling it Slighty Mighty this whole time hah!)
I lined up around the 11-minute marker sign at the start, but soon realized that I had to throw that theory out the window as everyone started inching toward the timing mats. I don’t typically use a pacer, but I noticed that this race didn’t have any pacers whatsoever, which I thought was different.
I think this was probably the most packed race start I’ve ever been in. It was more than elbow to elbow, and no one really seemed to care about personal space. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long for the race to start, and off we went.
The race itself was a bit of a mind $#^@#$^ for several reasons:
- I thought I would see markers distinctly for the half marathoners versus the full marathoners, which I didn’t unless I missed them somehow. I did check out the course map before the race, but I’m horrible at reading maps haha. I’m not sure what I expected, but I just didn’t feel confident at times about being where I was supposed to be.
- Several times I said to myself, “If I have to go out and back and go up that hill going back, then there will be a lot of walking involved.” But yet the course didn’t seem to take me back the way I thought I would go—unless I just didn’t realize it?!
- Around the half-way point, you literally see the finish line where the half marathoners turn left to finish, but I had to turn right. I can’t tell you how many times I thought to myself, “If I had just turned left, I would have been done! Who would know?!”
- It started to rain around Mile 15 or 16, and it didn’t stop for quite some time. I’ve never run a long-distance race in the rain before, so I think I got into a negative head space because of it.
- For whatever reason I feel like I walked more during this marathon than any other prior. I’m all for walking, but I know I walked during flat portions when I could have easily run. Maybe it just wasn’t my day!
However, I did really love the fact that the course takes you through several types of terrains/areas, including along the riverfront, residential pavement (with gorgeous houses), by the Brandywine Zoo, on a very shaky wooden bridge (hello near-vertigo), on a longer wooden bridge, and shaded, paved trails.
One highlight of the race was seeing BibRave Pro Katie on course and being able to stop and take a picture! I look like a crazy person in this picture because of the angle, but Katie was looking strong! We were also very matchy-matchy with our AfterShokz, BibRave Gear, and Orange Mud vests!
During the race, I listed to several running podcasts including Another Mother Runner, Runner Girls Podcast, and of course the BibRave Podcast. I faithfully took my GUs every four miles, and I know I drank more water than I truly needed. The aid stations were well stocked, and the volunteers were super friendly.
I wanted to finish in under 5:30, which I did. I came in at 05:27:51, with an average pace of 12:31. I’m very proud of completing my fifth full marathon, and I’d love to return to this race next year with a better mental game.
To sum things up, here are my pros and cons from this race:
- FREE race photos at the expo, during the race, and post-race
- Excellent aid stations
- Friendly volunteers
- Stellar race communication via email and on the website
- Small expo that didn’t offer much besides clothing
- Crowded start
- Because I’m a back-of-the-packer, the post-race food was disappointing—I grabbed a bag of chips and a Slightly Mighty . . . that’s all that was left aside from some fruit
Interested in snagging a discount on any of the brands that I mentioned during this race review? Here ya go!
- Use code BIBRAVE for 10% off all Handful products!
- Use code BIBRAVEGVPRO for 15% off all Orange Mud gear!
- Visit bibrave.aftershokz.com to use code BRBUNDLE for $50 off the Adventure Bundle!
- Use code WIN4RAVE at checkout to get 20% off any WIN Sports Detergent product!
Fellow BibRave Pros
If you’re interested in running the half and want a different perspective, check out BibRave Pro Kim’s half recap here!