Despite Bridge Project, Half-Marathon A Go

OCEAN CITY – Despite ongoing work on the Route 50 bridge, the 2008 Ocean City Half-Marathon is scheduled to go off as planned next Saturday with a start line at the Inlet parking lot and a finish line at Assateague Island.

For the last three years, Extreme Dream Events has produced the annual Ocean City Marathon each April, attracting thousands of racers from all over the country for a full-marathon, half-marathon and 5K race. This year, however, citing concerns about the status of the Route 50 bridge, which was closed for a month in January and February, race organizers scrapped plans for a full marathon opting instead for a less cumbersome half-marathon. The race and the associated events are still on for next Saturday as planned, according to Extreme Dreams officials this week.

“Everything is going well and all signals are green,” said Extreme Dreams officials this week. “We expect blue, sunny skies and runners from all over.”

The half-marathon course next Saturday will essentially follow the basic course of the full-marathon held the last two years. The course will begin with a starting line at the Inlet parking lot, meander up the Boardwalk to North Division Street where racers will cross under the arch and head west across the Route 50 Bridge. Once in West Ocean City, the participating runners will head south along Route 611 to a finish line on Assateague Island.

Although the bridge is still undergoing a major re-decking project, Extreme Dreams officials are not anticipating any glitches. Resort officials learned this week the bridge work is ahead of schedule and could be completed by the first week of May, but the project will not be ready in time for next week’s race.

“We expect no problems with the bridge,” said Extreme Dreams officials this week. “It appeared that the Route 50 bridge work was going to be an insurmountable obstacle for this year’s event. Thanks to dedicated public officials, that is no longer the case.”

Race organizers will be working hand and hand with local and state police to ensure the safety of motorists and runners during next Saturday’s events.

“We have complete confidence in the Ocean City Police Department, the State Police, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department and the State Highway Administration,” race officials said. “We anticipate only minor traffic delays very early in the morning and minimal inconvenience to motorists.”