Annual Trail Run to race through Assawoman

Those looking to combine a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of the area’s natural wonders and get some exercise at the same time may want to consider signing up for the 9th Annual Mariner’s Bethel Trail Run at Camp Barnes and the Assawoman Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Coastal Point •  File photo: Runners take off from the starting area in a past Trail Run at the Assawoman Wildlife RefugeCoastal Point • File photo
Runners take off from the starting area in a past Trail Run at the Assawoman Wildlife Refuge.

“The first year we did it, it was a standard 5K,” added Bill Lord, one of the event’s founders. “My feeling, when I was developing it, was that the place was so beautiful that I wanted to have every scenic view possible within a run. I ran the most beautiful route that I could run, and it turned out to be 7 miles.”

There are five options for those who wish to participate: a 7-mile run, a 5K run, a 1-mile walk and a kiddy run. Men, women and children are all welcome to participate in the event.

“It’s a very complicated run, because it’s 3 miles and 7 miles. It’s not very often you get two events, different distances and walkers all in the same kind of confined area. But it works out great — just the way the course is, and the time,” said Lord. “We called it a trail run and, indeed, for the people that do 7 miles, there are a couple trails that they go on. For the 5K people, there’s one stretch of trail that’s only about a quarter-mile. The rest of it is those nice hard-packed roads.”

Lord noted that the Kiddy Run always has a large turnout, with approximately 100 kids participating.

“The kids fly. You don’t want to mess around with the Kiddy Run,” he noted with a laugh. “Those kids — it’s embarrassing: little kids that are 12 years old, their feet hardly touch the ground, they run so fast.”

Registration will begin at 11 a.m. the day of the event and costs $25 for adults and $12 for children 12 or younger. All registered participants will receive a T-shirt and lunch.

“Just a great big lunch, cooked by the ladies at church,” Lord explained. “Everybody pitches in — homemade soup, homemade sandwiches.”

Lord said that those who choose not to participate in the day’s physical activities are still welcome to attend the event and cheer others on. Following the trail run, everyone will gather for lunch, enjoy a fire and listen to live music.

“We get the church rock band out there. They set up out front and play. It’s a great afternoon,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Prizes will be awarded by an officer of the Delaware State Police, to those who win in their respective age groups.

The Trail Run serves as a fundraiser for the church and, this year, the proceeds will benefit Mariner’s CRASH Youth Ministries.

“The youth group is trying to raise $40,000 to put on a work-camp in June,” explained Hope Cornell, media specialist for Mariner’s CRASH Youth Ministries. “We’re going to do repairs to homes in the area of eastern Sussex — just upkeep for people who can’t afford it.”

CRASH is hoping to raise the $40,000 through various fundraisers, including the trail run, to fund the camp, which is operated through the Group Workcamps Foundation.

“We’ll have about 400 kids come here from all over the country for the week, and we’ll be working on about 100 different sites,” explained Cornell. “We’re going to try to help as many people and work on as many homes as possible.”

Cornell said that the camps are held all over the country, but this will be the first to be held in this area.

“It’s really volunteer-mission oriented,” she said. “We just really want to get the support of the community behind the work camp.”

She noted that in past years, approximately 400 people have participated in the Trail Run, which even draws runners from outside the state.

“The first year, it was just a lot of people within our church and within the surrounding area. In recent years, we’ve had people coming down from Wilmington, coming up from Virginia, coming across the bridge from Baltimore and Maryland. So it’s really grown,” she said. “I think people just come because of where it is, at the state refuge. It’s beautiful scenery… A lot of people are attracted by that. It’s also become more popular by word of mouth.”

Cornell said the event is truly about having people gather in fellowship and that she hopes it will be a fun day for all who attend.

“It’s more about the fellowship of the trail run and getting people together than it is about raising money,” she emphasized. “We hope that people can come together in Christian fellowship and enjoy the afternoon in a beautiful Delaware landmark.”

For more information, call Mariner’s Bethel at (302) 539-9510 or email Bill Lord at