History of the Delaware Distance Classic 15K Race

Dave Farren gives start line instructions

Dave Farren gives start line instructions (2005)

DDC15K was started in 1983 by a few guys from the Pike Creek area who, started the club and then the race, as a means of gaining some financial assistance in getting the club off the ground.

Over the years, the club has grown & the race has grown. We have raised a few thousand dollars for the Special Olympics, and more recently have donated to The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, and The Mike Clark Legacy Foundation. PCVRC also benefits by receiving needed funds to keep the club going and keep running in the area fun and exciting while promoting our sport!

The race has seen five previous locations, each having its ups and downs. It started in Pike Creek on a very challenging course. Like the old Caesar Rodney Half Marathon course, people seemed to really enjoy the challenge of the hills. We had as many as 800 finishers at one time in the 1980’s. It was run there for the 1st five years and then in 1988, was moved to Delaware Park for a two year run. That year, we brought in the famous Bill Rodgers to participate.

Richard Webb and Joan D-Alonzo (2003)

Richard Webb and Joan D-Alonzo (2003)

In 1990, we moved again to the Corporate commons, in part because of the sponsorship. That was a one year deal as in 1991 we got a commitment from another sponsor in Wilmington for three years that we couldn’t refuse. 1992 was the year the race had world-class runners brought in and the fastest times ever run in Delaware were run that year. The men’s course record run that year was 44.02 by Boay Akonay of Tanzania. The women’s course record also run that year was 51:24 by Wilma Van Onna of Holland. Akonay also ran through the 10k mark (was certified) in under 29 minutes, which nobody had or has since done in Delaware!

After the three-year commitment was over with the city, the race moved to Delcastle recreation center for five years. It was there that the race took a turn for the worse as the number of finishers went down quit a bit. The consensus was that the course and the fact that the running boom we saw in the 1980’s had slowed considerably were the reasons for the decline. We added a 5K with the hopes of getting participation higher with no luck.

Doug White, Bruce Hubbard, Chip Bixler

Doug White, Bruce Hubbard, Chip Bixler

In 1999, it was decided to move again to the newly developed Christina Water Front with the thinking that a flat fast course with the scenic views (well, most of the way) would help the participation increase. We also hoped to take advantage of the new corporations down on the Riverfront as a source of new sponsorship. With the Blue Rocks stadium there, we had the important details of parking, bathrooms, space, etc. already in place. The move worked well as race participation slowly increased for several years in registered runners as well as finishers. In 1999 we had a low of 164 finishers and in 2012 we had 356 finishers.

Dave Farren, Race Director 1999 to 2010

Dave Farren, Race Director 1999 to 2010

As activity in the Riverfront Area increased, it became more difficult to handle the logistics of vehicle traffic, conflicting events, and general congestion, so in 2014 it was once again time to move. Our new location in Delaware City promises to be an interesting change, while keeping fast & flat courses for both the 15K and 5K races.
We look forward to seeing you in October!
David Farren, Race Director, 1999-2010
Updated by Ray Christensen, PCVRC President, 2010-2012

1999-2013 Race Course: Wilmington Riverfront

The 1999-2013 Delaware Distance Classic 15K [& 5K in 2012-13] Road Races were held at the Wilmington, DE Riverfront with start/finish at entrance to Frawley Stadium, home of the Blue Rocks baseball club.

2012-13 15K Course Map - USATF Cert:  DE120011LMB

2012-13 15K Course Map – USATF Cert: DE120011LMB

2012-13 5K Course Map - USATF Cert:  DE120010LMB

2012-13 5K Course Map – USATF Cert: DE120010LMB

2014-2018 Race Course: Delaware City & C&D Canal

Delaware City 15k raceFor 5 years, the Delaware Distance Classic was held in historic Delaware City, DE. The 15K course itself was an out and back, flat and fast course, from the foot of Clinton Street, out Cox Neck Road, onto the Biddles Point trail head, and onto the Michael Castle C&D Canal Path. Water stations were located at the 5K turnaround on Cox Neck Road and at the parking lot entrance to the Michael Castle Canal path.

Delaware City seemed farther away than it actually is, but we wanted to return the event back to a more central location.
See Delaware City details.

2019: Return to the Wilmington Riverfront

Our 2019 15K was run in conjunction with the Delaware Nature Society 5K on the scenic Jack A. Markell Trail. It’s a flat and fast out-and-back course on boardwalk across the wetlands and bike path towards New Castle, DE.

2020 event was cancelled due to Covid-19, but returned in 2021 with both 15K and 5K.