OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Half-Marathon and 5K races went off without a hitch last Saturday despite concerns about the ongoing Route 50 bridgework and the always uncertain weather conditions in the area in April.
The annual event was shortened to a half-marathon and 5K this year, but the change did little to curb the enthusiasm for the couple hundred runners who participated in the two races weekend. Saturday morning was crystal clear with perfect running temperatures in the 50s, although thunderstorms rolled through the area not long after the last of the runners crossed the finish lines. The conditions this year were in sharp contrast to last year’s event when bitter temperatures, snow and freezing rain chilled participants all over the course.
The half-marathon course started at the Ocean City Inlet parking lot, headed down the Boardwalk to North Division Street and crossed over the Route 50 bridge into West Ocean City. Vehicle traffic on the bridge was halted until the last of the runners crossed the span, although few delays were reported in the early morning hours on Saturday.
From there, the course ran down Route 611 to a finish line on Assateague Island. The entire 5K course was run on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. Runners in both races were transported back to the Francis Scott Key Resort for an after-party and awards ceremony.
For the record, Tommy Neeson of Virginia Beach was the first runner across the finish line in the half marathon, finishing in 1:20:04. Neeson won the first-ever Ocean City Full Marathon in April 2005 and followed that up with the third-place finish in the second annual event. Austin Gee finished second in the half-marathon last Saturday, coming in just behind Neeson at 1:20:06, while Oerek Shultz was third at 1:23:33.
Kelly Lovensheimer was the top female runner in the half-marathon, finishing in 1:33:43. Jennifer Scheimer (1:41:10) was second and Tracy Maccherola (1:46:40) was third among the top women finishers.
In the 5K race, the top male finisher was Frank Leiter, who came in at 16:43. Noah Wood was second at 19:11, while Kyle Wettlauter was third at 20:11. Brett Gagnon was the top female finisher in the 5K at 23:11, while Jessica Leventry was second at 25:30. Ocean City’s own Jean Taylor was the third female finisher in the 5K, coming in at 25:36.