Algonquin 50K Returns Next Week

POCOMOKE CITY – An ultramarathon centered in southern Worcester County will return to the area next weekend.

On Feb. 10, runners will return to the Pocomoke River State Park to take part in the second annual Algonquin 50K, a roughly 31-mile race that takes participants through some of Maryland’s most scenic trails.

Trent Swanson, race director for the Algonquin 50K, said he and two friends, Chris Demone and Brian Swift, came up with the idea two years ago for an ultramarathon race that would showcase the area’s trails. Since then, the group has reached out to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, park rangers and more to gather support for holding the Algonquin 50K in the Pocomoke River State Park.

“Our whole goal is to get people on the trails,” he said.

Last year’s inaugural race amassed 125 runners from around the region, according to Swanson. This year’s race, however, is nearing 200 runners.

The race will begin and end at the Milburn Landing area of the Poco-moke River State Park and trails will make up 95 percent of the course.

“You are out there with nature,” he said. “The soft dirt and the comradery is amazing.”

While the course is completely flat, Swanson said runners will be challenged by sandy, and potentially wet or frozen, portions of the trail.

“What makes this ultramarathon so unique is that the terrain is so different,” he said.

Because a portion of the trials used for the race are shared with horseback riders, Swanson said volunteers and their horses are working with event organizers again this year. Riders will follow the last runners to ensure all participants return safely to the finish line.

Heather Cherrix, a Salisbury resident, said she and her riding partner, Nina Lee, will be one of several horseback riders on the trail for the race.

“We are similar to a first responder on the trail,” she said. “We are there to be first on call and to radio for help. Everybody has to be CPR and first aid certified.”

Cherrix said the ultramarathon gives riders an opportunity to help others.

“We are doing something we already love to do and using it to help out,” she said.

Lee agreed.

“It’s a really neat event where we can help out the local community,” she said, “and it allows me to do something fun with my horse in the middle of the winter.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.