OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Half-Marathon and 5K races went off without a hitch last weekend as April’s dreary weather broke just long enough to provide picture-perfect weather for the two annual events.
The event began as a full marathon five years ago, but was shortened to a half-marathon for the first time last year because of logistical problems related to ongoing work on the Route 50 Bridge. Work on the bridge continued this year, adding a subtle wrinkle to the half-marathon course again, but the event was a huge success with hundreds of runners from all over competing.
The half-marathon course started at the Ocean City Inlet parking lot, headed down the Boardwalk to North Division Street and crossed over the bridge into West Ocean City. From there, the course snaked through the Park and Ride to Old Bridge Rd. to Route 611, where it continued with a long stretch down to the finish line on Assateague Island. The 5K race was run entirely on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. Runners in both races were transported back to the Francis Scott Key Family Resort for an after-party and awards ceremony.
For the record, Tommy Neeson of Virginia Beach was the top finisher in the half-marathon again. Neeson has become a fixture at the annual event after winning the first-ever Ocean City Marathon five years ago and finishing third in the second annual event. Neeson came in first this year, finishing in 1:22:42, or about two minutes behind his winning time in the half-marathon last year.
Kevin Burcham of Colonial Heights, Va. finished second in the Ocean City Half-Marathon this year, coming in at 1:23:13, or about a half a minute behind Neesonm. Steve Moore of Baltimore finished third overall at 1:28: 41.
Kelly Horowitz of Wilmington was the top female finisher and sixth overall, coming across the line at 1:30:56.
Ocean City’s own Corrine Banks was the second-place female finisher and the ninth overall with a time of 1:32:50. Banks was also the top local finisher. Deice Meekins of Catonsville was the third-place female and 14th overall with a finishing time of 1:35:56.
This year’s event was one of the most successful ever with 541 total competitors including 409 half-marathon racers and 132 competitors in the 5K. The local area was well represented with 22 competitors in the half-marathon and they all performed well.
Among the top 10 local finishers in the half marathon were Corrine Banks, Ocean City, 9th, second female; Dean Pierson, Ocean City, 17th and fourth in the male 40-49 bracket; Brandon Phillips, Berlin, 23rd; Tracey Sapia, Ocean City, 31st, and first in the female 30-39 age bracket; John McLaughlin, Berlin, 50th; George Bush, Berlin, 53rd; Mark Solito, Berlin, 55th; Jeff Michael, Berlin, 90th; Todd Smallwood, Fenwick Island, 97th; and Mark Shipley, Ocean City, 123rd.