Mariners Bethel United Methodist Church will be hosting its 17th annual Trail Run on Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Assawoman Wildlife Refuge at Camp Barnes in Bayard, near Bethany Beach.
For the past 16 years, Bill Lord has been organizing and running the event, and it all started with a little proposal from the church to its members one day during a worship service.
“The church basically gave everyone in attendance a $5 bill and told them to use their talents to double the money to bring back to the church,” said Amy Hughes, Lord’s daughter, who also helps to run the event. “He started this event, and it’s become a pretty big deal — so much so that the church really rallies around it every year.”
The event has gotten so big over the years that Lord and Hughes reached out to Tim Bamforth and Seashore Striders event productions to help track all of the runners.
“We are all fully involved with this,” Hughes added. “My mom does the finances for this event, and there are a lot of people that help as well. There are hundreds of volunteers that come out to help, from food to walking the course to helping clean up, and everything else that goes into it. It is pretty cool how many people are involved.”
And all proceeds from the event go back to the church, to help with their CRASH youth group’s mission activities.
“This all helps the Mariners Bethel youth group,” Hughes continued. “They have their Bible studies on Wednesdays, and they do things on Sundays. They are going to Costa Rica, and they will also have a mission trip up to Philadelphia, which is the next thing they are doing.”
The event is truly for people of every fitness level.
Participants who choose to run will be chip-timed on the course, either over 7 miles or on the 5K. Recreational walkers can participate in either a 1- or 3-mile event, and there will also be a Kids Run taking place. All events will begin and end at Camp Barnes.
The course showcases autumn views of the bays and marshes in the Assawoman wildlife area, and organizers said it is truly one of the nicest fall runs/walks in lower Sussex County, with hard-packed roads and manageable trails.
Following the race, there will be a home-cooked lunch served by the fireplace, with live music, and age-group awards for first, second and third places, and lots of other fun for everyone.
On-site registration opens at 11 a.m. on the day of the event, with the Kids Run going off at 12:50 p.m. All other races will take off at 1 p.m. Pre-registration discount rates are available through Sunday, Oct. 14. Pre-registration guarantees an event shirt. Costs for those pre-registering for the 5K or walk are $25, while the 7-mile run costs $35. Kids 12 or younger pay $10.
On the day of the race, all racers will pay an additional $5, with the exception of the kids 12 or younger. Lunch tickets for non-participants cost $7.
For details on registering for the event, check out www.SeashoreStriders.com. For more information on the race, call the church office at (302) 539-9510 or go online to www.marinersbethel.org. Sponsorships are also available.
By Jason Feather