Do you have a collection of State Quarters? Do you remember the first one that came out in the series? Do you recall it being Massachusetts? I hope not, because it was actually Delaware – and with our race on the 22nd of November we not only achieved the milestone of 50% of the States, we ran in our first State, Delaware, which was first to ratify the Constitution. As part of our trip, we visited the original building and locations (in Dover) where the signers met to start our Union. Interestingly enough it was a tavern – not the least atypical for the era. It was an impressive, but small complex of buildings from the 1700s (some now restored), to include plaques, monuments and the village green – looking much like it did well over 200 years ago.
As for our race, it was at Rehoboth Beach, located where the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay intersect. It started along the town boardwalk (obviously quite a tourist mecca in the summer), then proceeded through the town, along a running trail through a forest preserve, past fields and wetlands, past Delaware’s first settlement (Lewes – where there were also some interesting old buildings) to a State Park at Cape Henlopen. Since the race was actually a two-person marathon relay, Cape Henlopen is where Karen handed me the “baton” (our timing chip). I then ran much of the same route in reverse – ending where we began on the boardwalk.
Although our 25th race together it was our first with a bonafide taste of winter! As we ate dinner the night before, we looked out the window onto quite a snow squall. It had also snowed much of the way down from Philadelphia earlier that evening. Luckily, race morning broke with crystal clear skies, but quite windy, cold (probably around 30) and some slick/snowy spots – esp. at the race start along the boardwalk. The wind kept our times a bit slower, but all in all it was a really nice race, a fairly scenic course and – of major importance to us – had a GREAT post race food spread (drinks, mini-burgers, veggie burgers, salads, pancakes, syrups, baked beans, pulled pork, and mac & cheese)! Luckily, the food was in a big tent where it was at least warmer. It was really good and we had some great visits with other runners. The race organizers were a couple that ran the local running store. They were also great – and we patronized them with a new pair of shoes for Karen. On the way back to the airport we stopped in Wilmington to visit the original home and black powder manufacturing site of E.I. DuPont. Interesting complex and, of course, quite a history as one of the titans of U.S. manufacturing.
My thoughts during this trip weren’t so much tied to running’s life lessons, but rather the origin of our nation and ideals. Running (and walking) where our founding fathers lived, talked about democracy, and met to set in motion the most significant experiment in the history of man was humbling and impressive. Indeed, we owe them a huge debt of gratitude – along with an equally huge obligation to ensure the continuing success of those ideals and that great experiment. It was great to Run the First! (Picture key, where not obvious: 2 - Old Statehouse in foreground, new Statehouse in background; 3 - oldest home in Lewes, information plaque is #5; 10 - DuPont mansion/home; 11 - Rehoboth Beach after a successful run!)
4 years ago