OCEAN CITY — Record numbers of runners turned out last Saturday for the 7th Annual Island to Island Half Marathon and 5K races with near perfect conditions leading to low finish times.
Over 1,300 runners from all over the country competed in the half marathon with another 600-plus in the associated 5K race, pushing the total to nearly 2,000 competitors in the two events.
Last year’s events set new records with 801 competing in the half marathon and 373 in the 5K. Two years ago, the two races combined attracted a total of 541 competitors.
Conditions were near perfect for the two races last Saturday with cool temperatures in the 50s and cloudy skies during the competition with the sun coming out and temperatures climbing in time for the post-race festivities. There was a strong west wind through most of the competition, but the racers did not face head winds for long in either race.
The half-marathon course began at the Ocean City Inlet parking lot and continued north along the Boardwalk to North Division Street, where runners made a left and continued across the Harry Kelley Memorial Bridge into West Ocean City. From there, the course continued through the Park-and-Ride to Old Bridge Rd. until it met Route 611. The runners continued south on Route 611 with a couple of detours through the Whispering Woods neighborhood and Sinepuxent Rd. before reaching the finish line at Assateague Island.
Tom Beekhuysen of Herndon, Va. was first in the half marathon, crossing the finish line in 1:17:04, a full minute faster than last year’s record time. Eric Hack of Cape Charles, Va. was second, finishing in 1:18:53, while Steve Moore of Westminster, Md. was third at 1:20:01. The top female finisher was Kristin Herring of Newport News, Va., who came in at 1:27:43 to finish 10th overall.
Locals runners finishing in the Top 100 in the half marathon included John Turssline Ocean View (fifth); Ross Spangler, Salisbury (12th); Sean Rolleston, Berlin, (29th); Madeline Dinardo, Salisbury (44th); Justin Steele, Salisbury (46th); Patrick Day, Salisbury, (53rd); Ron Gossard, Ocean City, (55th); Dawn Ehman-Marohl, Ocean City, (56th); Alyson Brabitz, Ocean Pines, (64th); Daniel Dypsky, Pittsville, (79th), and Brenda Hommel, Ocean City, (99th).
Several local runners won awards in the half marathon in their particular age and gender groups including Madeline Dinardo, Salisbury, first, Female 16-19; Greta Downes, Salisbury, fourth, Female 16-19; Ross Spangler, Salisbury, third, Male 20-29; Dawn Ehman-Marohl, Ocean City, second, Female 30-39; Tracey Sapia, Ocean City, first, Female 40-49; Trish Corrigan, Ocean Pines, third, Female 50-59; and Frank Walter, Berlin, first, Male 60-69.
The 5K race, which also began at the Inlet and was run entirely on the Boardwalk was also a big success.
For the record, the top three finishers included Tom Rhodes, Arlington, Va.; Elias Nevarez, Arlington, Va.; and Corey Graeves, Silver Spring, Md.
Local runners finishing in the top 50 in the 5K included Tristan Peeples, Berlin, ninth; Matt Aikens, Ocean City, 13th; Don Parana, Berlin, 18th; Ross Fowler, Ocean City, 20th; Brian Mullaney, Ocean City, 29th; Steve Jennings, Salisbury, 36th; and Ryan Wallace, Ocean Pines, 42nd.