Your Trail: The Coastal Trails Of The Delmarva Peninsula
“We like mud down here because we don’t have hills”
Intro – Welcome to the Delmarva Peninsula! Combining parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia into one region that some of the locals might call the “lower slower Delaware” as life slows down away from the hustle and bustle of big towns surrounding it-Sitting on the Maryland side of the Chesapeake Bay, and covering some of the Virginian Eastern Shore, Delmarva runners have been quietly building an incredible community with creative events and impressive trail systems to go with an outdoor and food scene that people should be flocking from all over to check out!
The “You need to run this” trail: Trent Swanson of the Algonquin Ultras tells us that this is a really seasonal question and this is why we go to the locals for the best knowledge! For the “anytime of year, to have a great trail to run” The pick would have to be the Tuckahoe Trail System in Tuckahoe State park. “ There are miles of good trails and for you plant lovers, over 600 native species of plants in the 500 acre park. Check out the Tuckahoe 25k race in November put on the the Crushers and Algonquin Ultras!
*Honorable Mention – The Superbowl of trail running down here though is the Algonquin 50k trails but in the summer, running this trail is going to give you all kinds of challenges. It is full of ticks, chiggers, and other bugs. It is overgrown in many places and can really start to feel like a sauna with the heat and humidity. The best time to run here is sadly smack in the middle of hunting season- Luckily there is no hunting on Sundays, so get out and enjoy what some folks like to call “Trail Church”.
Other noteworthy trails: Trap Pond near Laurel Delaware has only about 8 or 9 miles of trail but includes a nice 5 mile loop. The park is right off the highway on your way to the outer banks, so stop and get your run in before your beach trip!
Assateague National Seashore – A Lot of beach running and some trails off of the beach to the wetlands areas. Be sure to check local tides and regulations!
Best Race/Event: The Algonquin 50k – A non-profit event designed to promote, maintain, and increase trails in the Delmarva region! This is a modified out and back with 95% of the route on trails!
The Most unique event: That would be the Pemberton 24. Running a 5k every hour on the hour. How many can you finish?
Trail Event Companies: Algonquin ultras. Under the Algonquin Ultras home page comes a list of really creative and community driven events including a strava based challenge. Check this all out here.
There are a lot of local running clubs in the area that help out with races. The Eastern Shore Running Club – Mom’s Run This Town – The 11:30 club – The Pemberton Running club and more
Best FKT to chase: The Assateague FKT north to the south route. At 35.64 miles with only 76 feet of gain. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that makes it easy though and check the details on the FKT site here for more details: https://fastestknowntime.com/route/assateague-island-end-end
Local Trail Media: No real podcasts or any video productions happening down here, so we suggest getting to the region to see what things are all about in person! Maybe make us a tiktok or reel to share!
Lodging: There seems to be no shortage if places to stay/camp/or hotel check out a small listing here: https://www.alqultras.org/alq-lodging
What to do instead of running? In the winter it’s tougher as a lot of the non-running activities can be centered around the abundance of water, but there are beaches everywhere – You can take up surfing, kiteboarding, and fishing. The road biking scene is big because there is not as much traffic as the surrounding areas- The Seagull Century bike ride happens every year and attracts cyclists from all over.
But to really get out and enjoy the area, you can grab a kayak, explore the waterways and even do some of the region’s famous crabbing (remember you need a license!)
Good Eats N’ Drinks: The Dewey Beer Company – They have top notch food, top notch beer – and they sponsor the Algonquin Ultras! Another great place to grab a brew would be Evo’s in Salisbury. Want something sweeter and a little more for everyone? Visit 2 Scoops Ice Cream and Waffles with their special homemade recipes.
“If ya come to Delmarva though, ya gotta have the seafood” We suggest you check out the Old Mill Crab house in Delmar and let us know what you had!
Bringing it all together: This region has been a classic hidden gem, but they are ready to showcase and show off. You can head in and run any of the many official races, take on the strava challenge events for yourself, and then get immersed in the local scene of beaches, seafood, and a little bit slower way of doing things that isn’t too far off the beaten path. The Delmarva region has it all and as local runner Eddy puts things “It’s all about running, friends, and food – But not in any particular order”.
Don’t live in a trail town and want to build one, check some advice here: https://www.trailrunnermag.com/training/trail-tips-training/building-a-trail-town-from-scratch
Want your town highlighted? Suggestions can be sent to Eric at TrailsRoc@Gmail.com