Middletown Athletic Club

(serving the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend, Delaware Running Community since 2002)

"That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is."  - Kara Goucher


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  • September 09, 2022 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thoughts on the Run – How far is three miles?

    (The following is an actual conversation) –

    “I really want to run my first race”.  “Which races do you think you want to tackle first?”.  “I haven’t picked a specific race yet, but I want to run a 5k.” “Well, that’s a great distance to do first.” “Yeah.  I thought so, too.  How far is that, anyway?”

    Hmmmmm, now I know Americans aren’t great with the metric thing, and I know some of you would grouse that our education system failed us on this whole imperial to metric conversion.  But really?  How far is a 5k?  The irony isn’t that this person didn’t know.  The irony is that they’ve heard ‘5k’ and didn’t realize it referred to the distance! 

    Let’s start by tackling just how far a ‘5k’ is.  It is precisely 3.10686 miles.  OR it is exactly 12 ½ laps around a standard 400-meter track, measured from the inside of the first lane.  OR it is the approximate distance between Middletown and Appo High Schools (per Map my Run).  As an aside, it’s approximately 4.2 miles from Middletown to Odessa High. 

    5k races accounted for nearly half of all paid registrants in 2019 (the most recent non-covid year for which data was available).  Half marathons are a close 2nd as the most popular distance, by the way.  According to Livestrong on-line, in 2019, 8.9 MILLION people completed a 5k race distance.  Apparently, my friend from above has read these stats and realized the 5k is where it’s at!  Of course, I’m not sure where ‘at’ is. Nor am I interested in explaining that whole ‘half-marathon’ distance thing.   

    Be honest, as you sit here reading this, you’re probably thinking you could walk/jog/run from MHS to AHS.  3.10686 miles isn’t THAT far.  And that’s precisely the point.  The 5k race distance is popular for a reason.  It is something that almost anyone can aspire to complete, train for and do!  It does not take a Herculean effort to do so.  The biggest difficulty with running a 5k is figuring out how to start.

    The 5k’s popularity is in its ease and challenge simultaneously.  It takes endurance, but not too much endurance.  It takes speed but not too much speed.  It takes training, but not too much training.  And it takes patience, but not too much patience.  And finally, it takes commitment, but not too much commitment. 

    I will be totally honest with you.  I personally do not like the 5k.  Never have, never will.  In my day, I could putter a 15-minute 5k.  Good but not good enough.  I always preferred the 10k (PLEASE don’t ask me how far that is, I’m begging you!).  I’m also a big fan of the XC racing scene.  But the 5k was always my gateway into the longer racing distances. 

    If you use the Google and look for 5k training plans, you’ll be amazed that the sheer number of options available.  However, if you are a first-timer or somewhat of a novice, my strongest advice is to find a club or a group that caters to ‘Couch to 5’ athletes (and yes, you’re an athlete).  These groups provide an excellent vehicle for training, partnership, accountability, safety, and success.  There are both in-person groups (Middletown Athletic Club, Pike Creek, Smyrna-Clayton, Downstate Striders, etc…) and on-line groups who can help guide you. 

    Occasionally, I’ll be approached about training someone for their first marathon (okay, it’s more than occasionally…).  My first two questions are ‘how long have you been running?’ and ‘what’s your best 5k time?’.  I will often get the ‘I’ve never run a race before’ answer.  That always makes me giggle, since my first race that wasn’t a high school XC event was a marathon.   Soooo naïve (in 1979). 

    Fall is a great time of the year for spreading your wings a little bit and tackling that first 5k event.  You don’t need to race it.  You don’t even need to run the entire way (walking is just fine, along with walk/jog mixes).  But you do need to know how far it is.    

    I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails. 


  • August 05, 2022 2:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The absurdity of running is in the eye of the beholder.  In other words, that someone thinks your daily 5-mile trek is ‘nuts’ might pale in comparison to how you view someone who trains for full marathon.  We all have our reference points. 

    Here’s my example of absurdity in athletics – In 2011, an Irishman named Gerry Duffy entered the U.K. DECA-Enduroman Iron triathlon.  The premise of the event was to complete an Iron triathlon every day for TEN CONSECUTIVE DAYS.  Let’s see, I’m not good with the numbers but that’s 24 miles of swimming, 1,160 miles of cycling, oh and let’s add on 262 miles of running.  Of the 20 original entrants in the DECA, only three finished, with Duffy taking home the gold. 

    Duffy wrote about this event, as well as the training that led up to it, in his 2013 book ‘Tick, Tock, Ten’.  It’s a fascinating account of not only the accomplishment, but the calories and the sleep deprivation and the support crew and even the absurdity of the course itself.  His fastest day was 14 hours, 10 minutes and his slowest 17 hours, 59 minutes.  The marathon was 26 – one mile loops (or 260 times!). Bet you’ll never complain about a 5k on the track again.  Duffy was ‘wrecked’ for the better part of a year afterwards, but also had gained two pounds during the ten days.  A sign, he says, indicated that the nutrition was ‘spot on’.

    We often hear about people undertaking absurd athletic challenges that we might gasp at either in morbid fascination or complete disbelief.  Can you count the number of times a friend or family member has said to you ‘I don’t even drive my car that far’?  Neither can I.  And it’s sorta lost its humor, too – it was just a half-marathon! 

    Running for the sake of running is in and of itself an absurd pursuit.  Why do we run?  Well, because we love being absurd, I suppose.  What made Duffy aspire to run the DECA triathlon?  I’ll paraphrase from his book; it was the challenge.  He’d run 32 marathons in one year as a precursor, so I can only guess he was upping the ante.

    The reference point I mentioned earlier really is what is viewed as the difference between what is absurd and what is a challenge.  Over the past 20 years, I’ve participated in seven 200-mile multi-leg relays, where team members alternate who runs, until the entire team completes the 200-mile journey.  I view these stage races as challenges, but I have been told I’m nuts, crazy and ‘absurd’.  To me, Duffy was nuts.  To others, I’m nuts. 

    This month I will surpass my 44th anniversary as a runner.  I started on August 15, 1978 and have been running, relatively healthy, that entire time.  In those 44 years, there is nothing that I have done that I myself would deem to be absurd.  Challenging, oh yes, but never enough to see myself through the prism of ‘absurdity’.

    In your running journey, have you ever found yourself looking at a Duffy-like challenge, that bordered on the unimaginable?  My guess is that if you did finally accept the challenge, you never viewed it as absurd.  And in the end, isn’t your reference point the only one that truly matters? 

    I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails.


  • July 05, 2022 8:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Like a lot of families these past few years, we really haven’t gone anywhere.  The last ‘family vacation’ was to Utah four years ago.  And the running there was outstanding (so was the rest of the trip)!  So getting away this summer meant a week’s worth of fun, activities, relaxation and RUNNING!

    I’ve been hobbled the past nine months, recovering from a knee surgery that doesn’t seem to want to heal completely. It’s left me somewhat baffled but also looking like one of those shuffling ‘can’t let it go’ types.  And believe me, now I understand why they can’t let it go.  Things are (slowly) improving, so shuffle I shall. 

    But I’m on VACATION and vacations were made for running, right?  We traveled to a place we’d never been before, and to me, the best way to experience and see a new place is on foot.  We also rented bikes for the week (geezer bikes, I call them) but by foot is my preferred mode of transportation.  It’s a lot easier to spot the restaurants, shops, and places of interest.

    Runners (and walkers) – vacations and get-aways don’t have to preclude running IF you plan a little in advance. Know where you are staying, investigate a little bit about where the locals run, google map the area looking for trails, parks and sidewalks.  And had I thought about it, I would have checked the local running group to find a full schedule of locally held races (I looked on a Wednesday and noted that there had been a race held the day prior – ah fooey). 

    Every trip is different, unless that is, you’re one of those creatures of habit.  Even still, weather, activities, food choices and the like can afford you the chance to run in different environments.  We get so used to running the same three or four routes. According to a recent USA Running study, the average runner has 3.4 different routes they use monthly. Gosh, we’re boring!

    On our recent trip, I ran four different places during the week.  One (two actually) was running the same pathway but in opposite directions.  One was a beach run (sans shoes!).  And one was a local state park.  A couple runs I had company and a couple runs I ran solo.  The change of scenery, the change of pace, the change of terrain and even the change of company helped make each run a real vacation run.

    This summer, I have added mileage in two different states, beyond the usual mid-Atlantic regions.  Indiana was a new location for me (state #35, 10 miles total) and my North Carolina mileage put me at 101 miles in the state.  Finding new places and new scenes adds an extra step to your…. Step.

    So where will your summer breezes take you this year?  Or maybe you’re a winter snow-shoe or ski type.  And if a stay-cation is in your plans, there are lots of local and regional places I’m sure you’d like to investigate that are within an hour’s drive.  A little planning, a little travel, and a lot of memories. 

    It’s time to relax, unwind, and look for the roads you’ve never travelled while humming Seals and Crofts all the way…(get out of there jasmine, I have allergies!).

    I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails. 


  • June 06, 2022 7:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The stack of t-shirts was immense.  I counted 24 in all.  My son and I had just gone through our closets and dressers and were prepared to donate 24 running t-shirts.  So, if we were planning to donate 24, just how many were we keeping?

    Running t-shirts are the bane of the existence of every non-running spouse in the world.  Fortunately, my spouse is a runner, so she ‘gets it’.  As I have famously stated on more than one occasion, I have more running t-shirts than God.  And as a family of runners, well, we could probably outfit most of the Old Testament tribes.

    What’s with the t-shirt anyway?  Why are they so popular with the running world?  I have t-shirts in my collection that are still wearable, dating back to the mid-1980s.  One shirt, from my very first marathon in 1979, is held together by mere threads and is (well, WAS) only worn on the day I was racing a marathon.  It’s been to Boston, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, DC, Burlington and even Bermuda.  It was retired when I retired from the 26.2 miles of madness.

    T-shirts were (are?) all the rage in the 80’s and 90’s.  They were the badge of honor for your entry into a race, be it a 5k or a triathlon.  Race t-shirts are to runners what NASCAR t-shirts are to Jeff Gordon fans (or Tony Stewart).  We wear them to brag, we wear them to remember, we wear them to shout, ‘look what I did’ and yes, we even wear them to run in… occasionally. 

    Speaking of running in them… somewhere in the early 90’s, the fashion industry took note and developed a slightly more expensive but also considerably more functional tech-shirt option.  These breathable, quick-drying alternatives allowed runners to run comfortably in their hard-won apparel.  It also limited one’s ability to remove the sleeves for that ‘sun’s out, gun’s out’ look.  Tank tops tech shirts quickly moved in to fill the void.

    In my nearly 44 years of running, I have given away far more shirts than I have kept.  Back in the early 90’s, I spent a great deal of time working in the City of Chester with an organization called Team City Ministries.  I used to donate a lot of clothing, race shirts included, to the homeless through TCM. One day while driving through the city, I counted no less than 5 of my shirts being worn.  It was great seeing these shirts getting a second life.  None of them were running, however.

    In my basement, we have a t-shirt quilt hanging on our wall.  It is made of 36 race shirts dating from 1980 through 2001.  It’s a great stroll down memory lane, when I think of the races depicted that no longer exist, or days when I ran my brains out for the win, or my bride ran a PR.  I did get yelled at for including my wife’s favorite stolen shirt, the Eriesistible Marathon, from 1990.  She LOVED stealing that one and wearing it.

    Race directors have started to bring back the shirt after a period when other SWAG (stuff we all get) became famous.  Beer mugs, hats, synchie backpacks, etc… became popular for awhile when people started rebelling and saying, ‘not one more shirt’.  But it seems the t-shirt is somewhat back in style.  Smart race directors are offering the choice of ‘for an extra $10, get a race shirt’. 

    So what’s your favorite?  Which is your go-to?  What’s the biggest ‘brag about it’?  My favorites are probably one of the seven LVRR Relay race shirts from my days in the Has-Been Track Club between 1998 and 2004.   The go-to is one of two Hood to Coast shirts from 2015. And the biggest brag?  It’s gotta be my very first USATF Master’s Championship XC race shirt from 2004.

    Just a few of the 125 t-shirts I currently have in my closet.  And yes, I wear them all (except that 1979 marathon shirt – never again).

    I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails.  


  • May 10, 2022 10:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BB King said it best (well, actually he sang it…) “The Thrill is Gone.  I can see it in your eyes.  I can hear it in your sighs.”.  Thrill?  What thrill?!

    Patriot’s Day (the 3rd Monday in April), is a day celebrated by six states in New England, commemorating the first battle(s) of the American Revolution.  Odd that Montana doesn’t celebrate that one, eh.  Ground Zero, however, is Boston, Mass with the granddaddy of all celebrations, the Boston Marathon.

    This year’s Boston race was the 126th annual event.  I have raced in three of them and attended four others as a spectator.  I love my Boston memories, was pleased with my performances (except for the year I dropped out) and see it as one of several pinnacles in my racing career.  But… the thrill is gone. 

    As is the usual, I get a lot of calls from my running buds and R.B.s on and near Boston race day.  One of the communiques stated, ‘it’s the only day of the year I wish I was still running marathons.’  To which I replied ‘Oddly, this year, not I.’.  In year’s past I agreed with that sentiment.  I mean, I know of few if any marathon runners who don’t desire to meet the qualifying standards to run the Boston race (yes, generally speaking, you need to qualify to run Boston by running another marathon under a certain time, based on your age).

    In year’s past, I’d get that sense of really wanting to be a part of the day, even toeing the line and competing with the best and fastest in the world.  I gave up marathon training 15+ years ago and don’t really miss it.  But on certain days (Patriot’s Day), I used to get the sense of desire and longing to be there again.  But not this year.  Not.  One.  Bit.

    Most runners I know, and especially the long haul runners, evolve over time.  Research has shown that the average runner takes 6-8 years to reach a peak before performances start to plateau or even taper off.  This time frame can be impacted by varying training stimuli, changing race focus, improving diet, rest, and other outside impacts (quit your job?).  But time catches up and we all hit the other side slope in performance and desire.

    So if I have lost the thrill, does that mean my running days are done?  Oh heaven’s no!  There are as many racing challenges to be had as there are makes and models of running shoes, socks and energy replacement foods.  Meaning… lots!  On road, off road, tracks, trails, hills, flats, team events, solo endurance races, theme events, specialty challenges, destination runs, mud runs, spartan runs, beach runs, odd distances (what the heck is a 9k), multi-sport events, biathlons, duathlons, triathlons, multi-stage races… I think you get my drift. 

    I can’t choke down one more ‘flat and fast’ 5k, nor do I have the stomach to train 60 miles a week for four months to cobble together a marathon.  I just don’t.  But I DO love running and racing still.   And there are tons of options for me.  Guess I should go figure out what a 9k is. 

    If you are starting to get the ‘thrill is gone’ sense about running whatever it is you have been regularly running, it’s okay.  It doesn’t make you any less of a runner.  It just means it’s time to evolve into another kind of runner, and let that challenge set you free.  I’ve run 29 marathons; I don’t need #30.  What is it that you feel the need to move on from? 

    “The thrill is gone…”  Sing it BB! 

    I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails. 


  • April 04, 2022 8:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thoughts on the Run – What’s your go-to excuse:

     “Coach, I caught a cramp on the last turn.”  “If it hadn’t had been for that gust of wind, I was there!”  “I ran a long run yesterday and my legs were shot.”  “I haven’t raced in a long time, and this was just a tempo run.”

    Excuses.  Well, they’re like… well, they’re like.  The last one in the above paragraph is always my favorite, although I gotta say, if you can catch the cramp, you should be able to catch the competition.  I mean, those things are fast!

    In my 43+ years of running and racing, I’ve heard a lot of excuses.  And by a lot, I mean a lot!  What’s an excuse?  Well, it’s quite simply the reason you state that you didn’t do what you said you were going to do.  From gusts of wind to imported humidity, from catching muscle spasms to ill-timed workouts, excuses give us a reason to say why we didn’t achieve our goal for the day. And the loftier the goal, the more imaginative the excuse!

    Let me state here and now, for the record, forevermore… it is okay to fail!  There, I said it and I own it.  Failure is a part of growth and improvement.  Without failure, success really isn’t very fulfilling.  But too many runners are afraid to fail so they either don’t try OR they determine the best excuse to fit the current environment.  From training errors, to weather, to injuries (real or imagined), the excuse ‘waters down’ the failure. 

    Please don’t confuse excuses with failures.  I’ve had plenty of failures.  My 1991 Boston Marathon is a perfect example of a failure.  Poor race execution caused me to DNF.  It’s really not an excuse.  My first 13 miles were run in 1 hour 14 minutes.  I was ill-prepared to maintain that pace for another 13 miles and paid for it by dropping out at 21 miles. 

    In my years, I’m sure I’ve had a few ‘excuse’ races as well.  But the thing about excuse races is that once you make the excuse, it’s typically forgotten.  The above ‘long run, legs shot’ excuse came out of my mouth at least once, but I don’t recall when.  Perhaps it was a reality, but what dummy sets themselves up to use that excuse before the race even begins?  Well, that would be me. 

    So why do so many of us look to the excuse rather than the reality?  Quite simply, we view our performances as a way of judging ourselves.  And if we don’t live up to the expectations we think others have for us, we just HAVE to sound off as to why.  Even the innocuous ‘just didn’t have it today’, relieves us of the burden of the failing. 

    Many of you who know me have often heard me say ‘Don’t Suck’.  There’s a double meaning to that short phrase.  The first is ‘do your best, whatever your best happens to be today’.  The second is ‘own it’.  Your worthiness is not and should not ever be measured in how poorly you think you did in a running event.  No excuses are ever necessary.  You are where you are.  No one can or should ever attempt to take that away. 

    Failures are where growth and learning come from.  Excuses are where imaginary cramps go to die.  Those suckers are fast!  Please never confuse the two.  I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails. 


  • February 28, 2022 8:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thoughts on the Run – The art of Coaching:


    Jerr the Bear.  He was a HUGE man to a high school sophomore in 1978.  He loomed large, his voice boomed and he scared me and the entire team to death.  Ah yes, my first experience with a running coach was Jerr the Bear.  Jerr followed the team everywhere on his bike, so there were no cutting corners, no goofing off, no hiding in the cornfields.  We ran FROM him, not for him.  Boy, I miss him.


    Moving on to college, I ran for a former nationally ranked 3-miler.  Coach D ran for Michigan in the 60’s and was good!  Coach D also wasn’t fond of goofing around and he also followed us everywhere… on his Harley!  Well, at least we could hear him coming.    I miss Coach D, too.


    Coaching is an art form.  Imagine dealing with 15 or more student-athletes who are either motivated to run or not, motivated to succeed or not, motivated to persevere or not.  It’s the ‘or not’ group that baffles most coaches.  Cross country, track and distance running in general are not natural sports for most young athletes.  It just isn’t.  Baseball, soccer, softball, football, field hockey - they all have some allure.  Running is just… running?


    I have tons of respect for any running coach who can tap dance through the minefields of middle school, club and high school and, to a lesser extent, college runners.  Tell a kid he or she will run 3 miles as fast as they can and watch them start silently computing how to avoid practice and still be on the team.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the helicopter parents.  What running is not is ‘just run faster’, mom and dad. 

     

    As a 40 plus year participant in this sport, I know the benefits of a good coach, and the pitfalls of a bad one.  Most experienced runners love sharing their knowledge of the sport with less knowledgeable-types, particularly if the less-knowledgeable ones have a real interest in learning.  For a coach or a mentor, one key is to know when to share and when not to share.  Bad coaches often don’t know when to turn it off.  By the way, my first two coaches were excellent. 


    Finding a good mentor isn’t as hard as you might think, and quite honestly, isn’t for just the school-aged runner.  Almost anyone can and will benefit from some sort of mentoring or coaching.  It could be as simple as having someone look over your training plan and recent logs, or it could be having someone willing to stand on the edge of the track with a stop watch, barking splits (I refer to exhibit A, Jerr the Bear). 


    Ask around.  Check with your running friends or some of the local running clubs. Visit the Road Runners Club of America’s website.  Be open to suggestions, but also remember to set boundaries and let whomever know what you expect and don’t expect.  After all, you are the runner, not the runn-ee.

           

    I love to coach willing people and I love mentoring people who are unsure of their abilities but willing to try.  And I love questions.  That is the key to a great athlete-coach relationship… always ask WHY.  Even younger athletes deserve to know why they are doing what they are doing.  I learned a long time ago that every workout has a purpose.  It serves the athlete well to know what that purpose is.

     

    So go ahead, hire a coach or seek out a mentor, and watch your running performance soar. And if you hear a ‘ching ching’ coming up behind you during a training run, it’s probably just Jerr the Bear.  But if you hear a ‘vroom vroom’, better get moving!

     

    I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails.


  • January 26, 2022 1:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "Waning Winter"


    This morning, I noticed that the days are getting noticeably longer. Just a few weeks ago, the average day was 9 hours, 22 minutes (the shortest day of the year). Today, it’s fully 35 minutes longer, and in another three weeks, it will be 35 minutes longer still. To quote James Brown in The Blues Brothers, ‘Do you see the light?’ February is a short month, but my oh my it takes soooooo long to get to March. February seems colder than January. It seems more depressing than January. And it certainly seems more ‘wintery’ than January. But those length of days! If your glass of water hasn’t frozen, it is half full and not half empty. February is a month of patience for runners. The end of the year often brings with it the annual ‘couple weeks off’ or shifting into different training phases, or maybe your one of those Phunt runners (kudos if you are). The January runner is usually about transition. March is usually about shedding layers of clothes and adding turn-over in the legs. March might even be an early season test of race readiness. But February? Patience, my harrier friends, patience. I saw a great quote the other day, from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Adopt the pace of Nature; her secret is patience.” What we do in February will have a major impact on the remainder of our training cycle or year. This is especially the case if we do too much or get too anxious. February is definitely a time of patience. I’ve run more than two dozen marathons. My best races were always springtime affairs. Whether it was Pittsburgh or Cleveland or Boston, I always ran better in a spring race. And the reason? February patience. My top five spring races averaged 2’44. My top five fall races averaged 2’52. For many, when the temperatures moderate and the days length, we tend to go overboard with exuberance. It might be one too many miles, or one too many repeats, or one too many races. Heck, it’s light until 9 pm! But the patience of February... My very last marathon was in Burlington, VT in 2010. I remember it not because of how it ended, but what came after. It had to be one of my best winters and early springs for training. Miles, tempo runs, marathon pacing, and even a couple solid tune-up races. February patience at its best. But marathon race-day rolled around and by three miles, I had no desire to finish what I had started in January. I literally walked off the course and out of the world of marathoning. This story does not have an unhappy ending. The patience of February that year paid major dividends. Even after the DNF, I continued to train and had one of my best springs and summers of racing in a dozen years, including adding a few overall race wins at age 46. Lemonade from the lemons. With February and the groundhog comes the need to exhibit patience. Keep the clothing layers on, continue to stay safe with reflective gear and running partners, continue to moderate the pace and focus on good form and posture. Your February patience will pay springtime dividends. “Do you see the Light?”. Why yes, we’re puttin’ the band back together! I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails.

  • December 31, 2021 7:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "NEXT GENERATION"


    Sometimes the best stories of running are told through the eyes of the athlete. Meet my son Ben. Ben runs XC at Appoquinimink High School and recently wrote a class assignment about taking a journey. Here is his journey.

    "Blue Hen Conference Championship" - by Ben Shearer

    The weather was cold and rainy as I was shivering in the cold. The gun finally went into the air and went Boom!! The next thing I see is the backs of the other teams and the green grass as we sped into the woods. I chased the other teams into the woods as if they were the prey and I was the predator. As I keep getting closer to the 1st mile, I see a familiar face in the crowd telling me to keep with them. It was my coach!! I nod my head like I understand (which I did) and I keep up with some of the tougher teams ahead of me. I pass some of them one by one and I say to myself, keep them coming. I then get to the mile and a half and there's nobody around me, I feel relieved, and my stress went down. As I thought to myself alone, I realized that I was the number 5 guy on the Appo team. As I kept thinking, a Middletown kid passed me out of nowhere and I just let it be. I lost some ground as I was in my own world. As I kept thinking about the big pack of guys I passed earlier, I realized that some of the Appo guys who were ahead of me. As I get to the second mile and there's a group of guys that I recognized earlier, I stay with them until the 2nd and a half. Some of the guys I hung behind were Middletown, Concord, Saint Georges, Mount Pleasant, and Hodgson. A couple of them were good and the others, I was beating myself up on how they were in front of me. Just as I get to the 3rd mile mark, I see a farm that is planting flowers and trees and another familiar face. The family friend told me that I was super close to the finish and to turn on the speed, I nod my head and start to speed up. I´m super close to leaving the woods, all I have to do is to go up a big hill and turn right. I went up the hill like it was no problem and I made that turn. I knew that this was the moment to beat them after my teammates were there cheering me on telling me to go now. With the rest of my energy, I passed the 5 guys who were around me and left them in the dust. I finished and didn't have to go any faster because the 5 guys I stayed with were just finishing as I was catching my breath. My body was cold and a little numb. I came up to my coach to ask for my time and he said that I ran 19:40. This was the first time I broke 20 during the season.

    I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails. 


  • June 03, 2020 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Middletown Athletic Club

    Group Run COVID Guidelines

    Adapted from RRCA/CARA Operational Preparedness Guide

    Updated 6/3/2020

    We are excited to resume our group runs, with some clear cautions in place. Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with our recommendations below for safe group running. We look forward to seeing you out there!

    • Do not participate if you are sick or have any concerning symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, body aches, etc) or if you have had recent contact with someone with COVID.
    • If you are in a high risk population for complications of COVID infection, please contact your physician before participating in group runs.
    • Practice social distancing - 6 feet minimum at all times, and 6-8 feet minimum while running (unless you are from the same household).
    • No group photos for now, but please share your individual photos on our facebook page!
    • Faster runners head out first, followed by slower runners to minimize passing.
    • Run single-file.
    • Carry your own hydration/snacks, if needed.
    • No spitting or ‘snot rockets’ - bring a tissue or handkerchief.
    • Bring a face covering! DNREC currently requires all visitors (state parks, wildlife areas and reserves, including the Mike Castle canal trail) to carry a face covering and wear it when social distancing cannot be maintained.
    • Please be courteous to other trail users, and avoid gathering in areas that limit the ability for others to pass at a safe social distance.
    • If you become sick with or test positive for COVID within 14 days of participating in a group run, please notify our club president, Phil Smith, at helenandphil@gmail.com or 302 690 5569 .

    Let’s get out and enjoy exercise, nature, and each other’s company  in a socially responsible manner! See you on the trails!


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Middletown Athletic Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 99 Willow Grove Mill Drive, Middletown, DE 19709

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